Where Leeds United are heading on pre-season nobody knows. Portugal, France, America? We always leave it late to announce it and why not keep that tradition going this summer? Here I take a look at five under 23 players who Leeds should take along to take a serious look at over the break.
We already know a bit about Edmondson after he travelled with the squad to Myanmar. He grabbed his first goal in Burma and he had already made his debut going into those games. At juts 16 years old he will almost certainly need more time in the development squad because he won’t be starting at first-team level but taking him with the first-team at pre-season will do him the world of good. He doesn’t look 16, far from it and he puts himself about on the park. We are lacking in numbers in that area anyway.
Probably the best passer at the football club. Adam Forshaw is neat and tidy but his range isn’t obvious. Rey can ping a ball anywhere on the park and his technical ability is brilliant. The speed of the Championship will take some getting used to, Spanish football is slower but the technical side is much better. Rey came from the Barcelona academy and was originally signed a centre-back. His goal against Nottingham Forest announced him on the Leeds United stage, a cracker of a volley from the edge of the box.
A young player that needs time to kick on next season. He needs some time with the first-team just to see how good he is currently and pre-season is the perfect time. A direct winger that can cause some serious problems in the under 23’s but may need work physically. He was actually expected to feature towards the end of last season but as the likes of Edmondson, Pearce and O’Connor all came into the side Heckingbottom couldn’t risk putting half of the under 23’s out.
Maybe an obvious one but maybe not. As it stands Liam Cooper is the only first-team centre-back that will be heading on the pre-season tour. Matthew Pennington has returned and signed a new deal at Everton and Pontus Jansson is on international duty at the World Cup in Russia. Depending on how far Sweden get he may be back in time for some of the tour but the chances are slim, he will need a rest either way. That makes O’Connor the second most senior centre-back at the football club.
The reasons above are key to Hugo Diaz heading abroad as well. Diaz is a very cultured centre-back who made his debut off the bench after Pontus Jansson was injured at Preston North End. A good passer of the ball and reads the game well. His improvement over the summer will be important because Paudie O’Connor may well find himself a first-team player behind the likes of Jansson and any new signings, Cooper as well if he stays. Diaz will be the main centre-back at development level if this is the case. A good chance for him to learn.