Is leaving Leeds United the biggest mistake of Jermaine Beckford's career?

Jermaine Beckford

Jermaine Beckford left Leeds for Everton after three seasons, but looking back on his career since, should he have remained at Elland Road?

Jermaine Beckford's career took a new step on Thursday when he clinched a loan move to Preston North End.

He links up with his former boss at Leeds, Simon Grayson, under who he played the best football of his career.

Beckford was prolific for the club in three seasons he played in League One, scoring a superb 85 goals, the most memorable being the FA Cup winner over Manchester United.

With his reputation soaring, he was snapped up by Premier League side Everton, electing to leave on a free transfer - a galling decision for Leeds, but his talent was not utilised effectively by David Moyes.

He was effectively chewed up and spat out by the Toffees, discarded after just one season in which he failed to reach double figures in goals scored.

His career has never been the same since. At Leicester he netted 15 times in his debut campaign in the Championship, but after that it began to go wrong, loaned out to Huddersfield Town.

Last season he scored only six goals in the Championship for Bolton Wanderers, but this season has been disastrous, scoring no goals in 13 appearances, prompting his loan to Preston.

Now 30, Beckford is back in League One and back with his former manager in a bid to revitalise his career and get it back on track.

So was he wrong to leave Leeds in the first place? Well given his prolific record, and goal at Old Trafford, he can't be blamed for wanting to test himself in the top flight, if the offer was there.

But having helped Leeds get promoted in his final season, it may have been better to carry on the journey into the Championship and test himself at the next level first, rather than making the jump too soon.

Had he signed a new contract to stay, and carried on with the club, Grayson's side would have had a far better chance of making the play-offs in their first season back in the division, instead the manager landed up being eventually fired by Ken Bates.

If he had carried on scoring, a Premier League offer still would have come in eventually, and he would have been better prepared for it. Instead his sojourn in the top flight was a one and done season, while had he waited, he may have landed up having a longer career there, and may not be preparing to play back in League One once again.

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