Liam Kitching was let go by Leeds United but he is fighting for the League Two title at Forest Green Rovers already.
If Liam Kitching was disappointed to see his Leeds United dream come to an end this summer, the defender can at least take some consolation in the fact that 2019/20 is shaping up very nicely for him at his new club.
Despite shining on loan at Harrogate Town last season, helping the Yorkshire minnows dream of life in the Football League for the first time in their history, Kitching still failed to make the grade at Elland Road.
There’s no shame in that, however. Marcelo Bielsa sets a remarkably high benchmark and Kitching, at just 20, still has a lot of time to prove the enigmatic Argentine wrong.
The grass is greener at Forest Green
Six games into his career at League Two’s forward-thinking Forest Green, the Harrogate-born youngster is making a real impression. After a slow start, he has made himself indispensable at left-back, which ironically enough is a position Leeds have struggled in at times during Bielsa’s tenure.
“He’s going to be a good player I think,” manager Mark Cooper told The Stroud in early September. That was before a brilliant goalline clearance in a 0-0 draw against Stevenage saved Forest Green from defeat and established himself as a fans’ favourite already.
In fact, Forest Green are unbeaten in all the games where Kitching has featured this season and currently sit just a point off the top in the third tier of English football. He also helped beat Charlton in the EFL Cup and kept a clean sheet against Premier League Bournemouth in round 2.
So Leeds will be hoping that they weren’t a little hasty letting him go. Kitching never made a first-team appearance in the famous White shirt and, in truth, he never came close to forcing his way into Bielsa’s plans.
But the fact that Stuart Dallas and Gianni Alioski have been forced to fill in at left-back frequently over the last few months speaks volumes about Barry Douglas’s injury issues and Leif Davis is yet to be handed a run of games at senior level.
Kitching has a long way to go but he’s proving that sometimes the grass is, quite fittingly, greener elsewhere.