Ronaldo Vieira’s rise to the Leeds United first team has been fairytale stuff. That fairytale will develop more with his selection for the England Under-20 squad for the prestigious Toulon Tournament (tweet – below).
The youngster, who was with the York-based i2i Academy at the time, came to prominence after appearing for the Whites in an Under-21 fixture against an Isle of Man XI. Based on his performance in that game, the young Guineau-Bissau born player, with the names of two of football’s greats, was signed to the Leeds United Academy at Thorp Arch.
Performing well in the Development Squad, a strange week towards the end of the 2015/16 season saw Ronaldo Vieira sign his first professional contract at Elland Road, as well as appearing in the final moments of the season’s final game against Preston North End.
🎉 Congratulations Ronaldo Vieira!
️⚽️ Leeds United midfielder in England U20s squad #lufc
🇫🇷 MAURICE REVELLO TOURNAMENT
🗓 May 23 – Jun 11 pic.twitter.com/u3EPmCQBx1
— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) May 16, 2017
Fast-forward a season and the 2016/17 season saw the young starlet get more of a foothold in the Leeds United first team, performing well in a side that only just missed out on a place in the play-off picture after suffering an end-of-season flop in form.
The signs that Ronaldo Vieira would be able to handle the step up in class to the Sky Bet Championship were evident in his display against Serie A side Atalanta BC in Leeds’ last pre-season game. During this game, a 2-1 win for the Whites, Vieira kept the dangerous Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie quiet – Kessie being a target for Chelsea who had a £20 million plus bid turned down earlier this season.
Vieira has made 34 appearances for Leeds this season, scoring his first league goal against Norwich City – a 35-yard screamer and providing one assist.
His selection for the England in the Toulon Tournament will add a further feather to his cap, whilst also pitting him against some of world football’s up-and-coming young players. He will feature in an England side of mixed age players in group games against Angola, Japan and Cuba as the Young Lions look to defend the title they won last year.