Next big thing; Three Leeds United academy stars to shine in 2017

Leeds United manager Garry Monk before the match

Rob Green's replacement and a prolific 18-year-old; once again Leeds United fans can look to the future with excitement.

Do Leeds United have the most productive academy in English football right now? Nottingham Forest might have something to say about that, as would the elite finishing schools either side of Manchester, but year on year new fresh-faced talent springs onto the scene at Elland Road.

But, after Lewis Cook, Sam Byram, Ronaldo Vieira and co, who is the next in line?

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

The fact that a number of Leeds fans have crowed repeatedly for Marco ‘stay on his line’ Silvestri to return to reclaim the gloves speaks volumes about the manner of Rob Green’s (below) performances this season. The veteran ‘keeper hasn’t quite plumbed to South Africa 2010 depths in a Leeds shirt but his displays, especially in defeats to promotion rivals Newcastle and Brighton, have been far from convincing.

Leeds United's Rob Green reacts after Newcastle's Dwight Gayle scores their second goal

Therefore, 20-year-old shot-stopper Peacock-Farrell must be watching on with interest. A broken hand has curtailed his progress in recent months but, after impressing on his debut against QPR in April, then-Leeds boss Steve Evans rewarded him with a new two year deal to ward off reported Premier League suitors.

At 37, Green is not the long-term solution. Peacock-Farrell just might be.

Mallik Wilks

Despite only signing professional terms in December, it’s a credit to the 18-year-old’s potential that he is already being tipped to make quite the splash in 2017. Monk (below) appears to agree. Wilks earned a place on the bench for Leeds’ crunch clash with Reading last month and a senior debut shouldn’t be too far away.

Leeds United manager Garry Monk before the match

Under-23 boss Jason Blunt told the Yorkshire Evening Post earlier in the season that Wilks’ pace and electric movement would quickly get fans off their seats at Elland Road and, with Leeds frustrated by their inability to add another striker to their ranks in January, the teenager could get the opportunity to demonstrate his considerable talents sooner rather than later.

Clarke Oduor

The 17-year-old midfielder has a lot to live up to but, if his performances for the club’s Under-23s is anything to go by, there’s little stopping him following in the footsteps of Vieira, Cook and co and making his name in the senior squad.

Oduor inked his first full-time contract with the Championship high-flyers earlier in the week and, with Monk continuing the club’s commitment to young talent by handing Leeds’ future generation the chance to shine in the present, the midfield dynamo won’t have long to wait before he steps onto the Elland Road turf.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch