Next Leeds United Wonderkid to Figure in Matchday Squad v Forest? – by Rob Atkinson

Kalvin Phillips - latest Wonderkid to make the grade?

Kalvin Phillips – latest Wonderkid to make the grade?

Vastly promising performances, fulsome praise from the management, a fantastic strike for the development squad at Huddersfield – and now today a non-appearance at that same development level; these progressive steps would seem to be the road by which 19 year old hot prospect Kalvin Phillips will arrive, quite possibly as soon as the Nottingham Forest game on Saturday, as a first team squad member for Leeds United.

It’s never all that easy to say how a promising youngster will cut it at first team level, but all the talk is that young Phillips has as good a chance as anyone, shining at a level not short of promise for Leeds, with several other Academy products either having already made their mark or pushing hard for recognition. Obviously, Neil Redfearn has the advantage of knowing all these kids well, having worked with them before his elevation to Head Coach. He is also quoted as saying that he would like “if possible” to field a full first eleven comprising home-grown players. Now that would be interesting.

A nod is as good as a wink, and such has been the progress of young Kalvin this season, culminating in that blistering strike at Huddersfield Town in a 5-0 stroll, you’d have thought he’d have been among the first names on Friday’s team-sheet for the reserve match against Forest. But no – nary a sign of him, not even on the bench. What other conclusion is there to draw? It seems certain that Phillips, maybe del Fabro also, are in line for at least a bench spot for tomorrow’s meeting of the two Championship giants – a match that is assured of a crowd well in excess of 30,000.

If Phillips does manage to get some game time against Dougie Freedman‘s men, it will be just the latest in a whole string of recent first-team débuts for home-produced stars at Leeds. As this is surely the best and most effective way for the club to guarantee the quality of their first eleven for the foreseeable future, it is reassuring to see the quality that is being produced, time and time again. Such a rich seam of talent means that the Club’s future should be bright, whatever the varying fortunes of owners and directors, or the effects of what is laughably called “Financial Fair Play“.

The last really promising era at Leeds hit the peaks when youngsters were blooded en masse in the first team, the likes of Smith, Kewell, Robinson, McPhail bridging the gap and supplementing the experience already there. Only when the focus shifted to over-rated, overpaid, over-the-hill “stars” did that vast promise start to turn to dust. The lesson is clear enough and, perhaps, even more applicable today than it has ever been. The uncut diamonds in reserve at Leeds could yet form the backbone of our next great team.

Fingers crossed that this is so. It would appear that the path to Premier League glory is via the multi-million pound acquisition of an array of European and South American talent of indisputable skill but all too often dodgy temperament and questionable commitment. Success thus obtained might well be wonderful, if a little nerve-shredding – but does it really taste quite as sweet as watching a team of home-produced lads fighting and winning together, for the shirt they’ve worn since they were kids? I seriously doubt it.

Good luck to all the wearers of those famous white shirts tomorrow, and for the rest of the season. And, of course for the years ahead too – years that suddenly do seem to hold the promise of something really worthwhile, something to be genuinely proud of.

Here’s hoping such rich promise really can be fulfilled. 

17 responses to “Next Leeds United Wonderkid to Figure in Matchday Squad v Forest? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. AllWhiteNow

    Amen. 😀 MOT


  2. People forget easily. Everyone, especially the pundits, are always prasing the ‘youth development academy’ at Southampton. The amount of players churnbed out from Thorph Arch has been nothing short of spectacular. Look at some of the recent stars: Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Aaron Lennon, and Hames Milner just to name a few, I would love to see my son Raspreet playing for Leeds..he has the capability to do so…just need Neil Redfearn to take a look at him:)
    Another great article Rob.


  3. Leeds v Notts is likely to be a stale contest, unless one team or the other can introduce a game changer. For Leeds that could well be young Kalvin Phillips.


  4. Can you imagine Rob ,god willing we keep these players,we could have a squad of 10.-15 home grown playing in the prem in two to three years .Now that would make me proud.


  5. spot on rob , we find ourselves in a , not going up and not going down situation , so lets use it to our advantage and test the promising talent we have in the last part of this season.. lets get them ready for what is going to be a serious push next season , we all feel it , 30000 on saturday and over 4000 tickets sold for a mid week trip to fulham next wednesday … everyone is sitting up and taking notice MOT


  6. seagullbus

    Some great points there Rob and very positive.Wish we’d had the continuity under Redders we had earlier in the season as I’m sure a crack at the play offs would be on.MOT


  7. Rob,
    Kalvin to come on 1st or maybe 2nd half and score two TWO goals…..leeds to win today 3-1……what say you????


  8. Rob, the last paragraph from Freedman sends a tingle down the spine (let’s hope we can create that feeling again today):


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