Steve Evans handed Championship debuts to two Leeds United youngsters during his time at Elland Road – Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Ronaldo Vieira.
Steve Evans believes his faith in youth has been justified in the rise of Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Ronaldo Vieira, two exciting talents who made their Leeds United debuts under the now-Gillingham boss, in quotes reported by Kent Live.
Though it’s fair to say a straight-talking Scot will not go down alongside Howard Wilkinson, Don Revie and Marcelo Bielsa in Elland Road history, Evans did a rather respectable job in West Yorkshire.
He finished comfortably in mid-table and even lasted eight months at the helm – which was some achievement given that Massimo ‘manager eater’ Cellino was used to chomping his way through many a tactician by that point.
Both Peacock-Farrell and Vieira made their first appearances in Leeds colours during the final few weeks of Evans’ reign too, with the manager keen to provide a platform for the next generation in West Yorkshire.
Peacock-Farrell and Vieira have been sold on since then, the latter joining Burnley in a £2.5 million deal while the latter is playing Serie A football for Sampdoria since leaving England to the tune of £7 million.
And Evans has not forgotten how quickly they made the step up from reserve-team football to the unforgiving world that is the Championship as he looks to replicate their success in League One at Gillingham.
“There are kids I played at Leeds,” Evans recalled. “Ronaldo Vieira and Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who is now playing for Burnley in the Premier League, I gave kids like that their debut.”
“I never thought about their age. I just looked at them training and looked at them playing and I thought ‘if you are good enough you are old enough’. It doesn’t matter to me whether you are 18 or 28.”