Leeds' academy chief comments on Alfie McCalmont's rise

A general view of the Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road during the Pre Season Friendly match between Leeds United and Everton at Elland Road on August 1, 2015 in Leeds, England.

Alfie McCalmont has made his mark for Championship hopefuls Leeds United this season and at international level with Northern Ireland.

Leeds United's Manager Marcelo Bielsa arrives during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England.

Leeds United’s academy manager Adam Underwood has praised the progress made by young midfielder Alfie McCalmont this season, speaking to LUTV, while hailing the impact of Marcelo Bielsa on and off the pitch in West Yorkshire.

Few had heard of the 19-year-old just a few months ago but, with the new season only weeks old, McCalmont is already establishing himself as a future first-team star for both club and country.

 

After impressing in pre-season, the technically gifted playmaker has made two appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds before earning a first cap for the Northern Ireland during last week’s friendly win against Luxembourg.

And Underwood, who has worked at Leeds’ famed academy for ten years, is thrilled to see McCalmont, amongst others, make huge strides since Bielsa took over in the summer of 2018.

“Every academy exists for one thing, which is to progress the players. We have high hopes always for lots of our younger players. We’ve seen Alfie McCalmont transition this season and make his debut, which is fantastic,” Underwood said.

The influence of Marcelo and his staff have been significant. The demands are higher than ever before for our younger players. The pleasing thing is that many of them have been able to meet their demand.”

Intelligent and composed in possession, McCalmont certainly looks like a midfielder tailor-made for a Bielsa team though he is not the only academy starlet who will be hoping to catch the eye of a famously demanding tactician.

And with the former Argentina and Chile boss giving first-team chances to Jack Clarke (below), Leif Davis and Mateusz Bogusz in the last few months, McCalmont and co could hardly be in a better place to fulfil their potential.

Leeds United's Jack Clarke warms up during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield United at Elland Road on March 16, 2019 in Leeds, England.

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