Former Republic of Ireland U19 international Callum Nicell has left Leeds United after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract, the Championship outfit announced on Monday.
The move comes after Nicell spent a year outside of the first-team picture at Elland Road, having shown promising signs in the Whites’ academy to warrant call-ups to the senior squad under Garry Monk and Paul Heckingbottom.
He leaves after twelve years at the club and without a senior appearance, having joined Leeds’ ranks at the age of seven and was later named the 2016/17 Academy Player of the Year.
Nicell’s path toward the first-team led to a key role in the Leeds U18s side that lifted the Professional Development League North title in 2017/18 and started the following campaign promisingly under the tutelage of Carlos Corberan to warrant a new two-year deal last September.
But he ultimately fell just short of the grade in the eyes of Marcelo Bielsa, who never called on the 19-year-old during his tenure, and Nicell trialled for Leicester City in July (Football Insider) with a view to landing a permanent transfer.
Leeds have a very strong academy right now that is churning out potential stars in the making, and Nicell clearly felt there was too much competition for places and that chances of breaking into Bielsa’s first-team were slim bordering on none.
The Argentine manager has recently handed fellow Whites youngsters Mateusz Bogusz and Alfie McCalmont their senior debuts, while in the first-team, Adam Forshaw is showing a renewed lease of life in a more advanced role partnering Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips, with the former Middlesbrough man enjoying more shots (2.0 to 1.2 per ninety minutes) and dribbles completed (100% to 70%) in the league so far (WhoScored).
It remains to be seen who Nicell will now join as a free agent, as he looks to secure the best landing spot for the next stages of his development, having failed to follow in the footsteps of some of his fellow Whites products like Phillips, Jamie Shackleton and Jack Clarke.
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