Chris Dawson was a youngster who came through the famed Leeds United Academy system based at the West Yorkshire club’s Thorp Arch training ground. After being released by United, the youngster found himself picked up by Rotherham but it is a half-season loan to Norwegian side Viking Stavangar that is hitting the headlines today, according to Norwegian publication Dagsavisen and Viking’s own website.
The Norwegian publication announced the news earlier that Viking had stepped in and taken Dawson from the South Yorkshire side, where he was signed by former Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn, and that he “comes to Viking on a season-long loan,” where he passed the “passed the medical at Viking and the parties have agreed a deal.”
Viking’s head of media and football administrator Ole Askeland confirms to Dagsavisen that the medical has indeed been completed satisfactorily and that, “there are only formalities remaining before we can present him as a player, and what remains is a little paperwork.”
22-year-old Dewsbury-born Dawson came through the youth set-up at Elland Road, graduating from the Leeds United Under-18 set-up and signing his first professional contract at the start of July 2012. Less than a year later, on May 8 2013, Dawson signed a three-year contract extension with the Whites, having made his Leeds début in a 2-1 loss to Derby the month before.
However, that 57 minute appearance aside, the rest of his first-team opportunities at Elland Road were limited to only three more outings and 36 minutes of game time. With his deal due to expire at Leeds in June 2016, the club released him during the January transfer window, where he was snapped up by then Rotherham boss Neil Redfearn – the man who had nurtured his progress through the ranks at Elland Road. On his signing, Redfearn said Dawson “has got everything going for him,” saying he’d come straight into first-team reckoning.
Redfearn’s tenure at The Millers was short-lived and, apart from an appearance on the substitute’s bench against Bolton, Dawson didn’t feature for the South Yorkshire club after his signing on January 28 2016.
However, his lack of first-team experience has not put Viking off his signature with the Norwegian side’s English coach Ian Burchnall who worked at Leeds United whilst gaining his UEFA B coaching accreditation. Speaking to the Viking website, Burchnall said:
“Dawson has gone way throughout the system in the Academy in Leeds, so I’ve been aware of him for long. He was a first-team player when he was 19 and did well, debuting for Wales U21, followed by bigger clubs and everyone was talking about his potential. Dawson has very good technique, is nimble and creative. But Leeds has been an unstable club, and Dawson did not get many opportunities.”
Viking’s CEO Eirik Henningsen confirmed that Dawson status at the Tippelegen side saying: “Dawson is on loan and we can sign him in January if we want.”