With Leeds United surviving the drop by the skin of their teeth, Victor Orta can breathe a sigh of relief and start dipping into the transfer window.
With a deal for Brendan Aaronson now confirmed, and many others linked, perhaps the Spaniard can look to Leeds’ youth setup for a readymade attacker who could fill any number of positions. It has been said that “the sky’s the limit” for Sam Greenwood by former Whites striker Jermaine Beckford, outlining how highly rated he is amongst followers of the club.
The 20-year-old is a youngster who has come to the fore in recent months, thrust into a relegation battle due to the numerous injuries suffered at the club.
He featured in six of the Whites’ final nine league games, but had enjoyed a fine youth season scoring eight and assisting five in the Premier League two. Arguably his finest senior performance to date came in the final game of the season, where he deputised in central midfield alongside Kalvin Phillips. Leeds battled to a 2-1 victory away at Brentford, which secured their place in the division, and he received widespread praise.
This performance in a deeper role, and his suggested versatility, gives the indication that he could fill in anywhere in a similar way to how Rodrigo would.
However, with Rodrigo’s less than impressive Premier League performances, perhaps an opening has come for Greenwood at the perfect time. This is even more likely, given how impressed Marsch was with how the youngster took to his tactics. He reportedly said that “nobody has adapted better” to his arrival than the 20-year-old, hence his increased involvement.
In his seven cameos in the Premier League, in which only one was a start, the starlet – lauded as “phenomenal” behind the scenes – notched up two assists. Perhaps more importantly for Marsch, his 28.1 pressures per 90 is indicative of a player who is comfortable with doing the hard graft before he reaps the reward of impressive stats.
Former Whites striker Noel Whelan noted on how this relegation experience will benefit the youngsters involved, claiming that “being thrown in at the deep end like that – you can’t get experience and confidence like that any other way. They [Gelhardt and Greenwood] were incredible”.
Greenwood shows maturity beyond his years, and a determination that will serve him well in the Premier League.
Perhaps next season, without the instant pressure of a relegation battle, Marsch will be less burdened and therefore more likely to allow Greenwood a real chance to shine in a position more familiar to him.
He could just provide the attacking returns only shown in youth football and help propel Leeds away from the relegation zone next season.
In other news, Leeds have been linked with a Premier League defender. Find out who here.