As a club with a proud history of developing players through the academy, Leeds United take development seriously. Since Marcelo Bielsa arrived in Yorkshire, he has put a keen focus on the growth and development of several young talents. The likes of Kalvin Phillips especially can point to a huge upturn in his own personal fortunes since playing under the Argentine. So, too, can some other young players – one of the most exciting, though, is currently plying his trade away from Leeds.
Robbie Gotts, 21, is seen as one of the more exciting members of the Leeds academy players come through. The 21-year-old is on loan at Salford City, playing a crucial role in their push up the league table. Previously on loan at Lincoln City, he moved to the Manchester area outfit and has started all four of the club’s last games. He has impressed, and has already scored twice for the team owned by the ‘Class of 92’.
After the game, Gotts was picked out by manager Richie Wellens for his outstanding performance. Playing well in a 4-1 victory, where he scored, Wellens was happy to speak about the on-loan midfielder, saying: His passing is good, he’s scored two in three for us and could have had more. He is a really good, infectious lad who the group has taken to straight away. We are going to improve him for free, that’s why Leeds have loaned him to us. We think he has a real chance to go all the way.”
It’s an excellent endorsement for a young player who was long seen as one who could make it at Leeds. After a slow start under Bielsa, though, game time via an important loan could play a major role in helping Gotts go to that crucial next level entirely.
Will Robbie Gotts play for the first team?
It’s a hard one to say for sure, but this season it looks like he might not get a chance. Despite an injury to Kalvin Phillips, it is unlikely that Bielsa and co. will break the continuity of the youngster to bring him back in the short-term. Injuries are beginning to build up for Leeds, but they are likely to persevere with a smaller squad and simply try to overcome the injuries that they have suffered as best they can.
For now, though, it would be fair to say that Gotts is as close to the first-team as he has ever been so far. Impressing on a regular basis, he could become a player who has the chance to be the next to make that crucial next step up to the first team.
While it might be hard to envisage a player going from League Two to the Premier League so quickly, the comments by Wellens show that this is a young player with an idea of what is expected at Elland Road. He has the drive, the stamina, and the commitment; can he now get that vital first-team opportunity?