On the 31st of January this year, Leeds signed West Brom academy forward, Tyler Roberts in a £2.57 million deal, where Leeds were looking to not only add some depth to their forward options but also begin building for the future. Although West Brom were keen to sign the forward to a new deal, the youngster decided to leave the club in search of first-team football.
Despite being a youth academy player, the fans were mostly pleased with the signing online.
Well done @lufc very good signing this really building for the future, nothing saying Lowe league exp means nothing look at Deli Ali, oli Watkins and even Kemar Roofe, much prefer this than a journey man on big wages like Martin which a lot of fans have been kicking off about MOT
— Eddy Nuttall (@edward_nuttall) January 31, 2018
Very optimistic with this signing. Could be the signing of the season
— Bradley Ashton (@Bradley91lufc) January 31, 2018
Looks quality. Hopefully he will be in front of Grot.
— alex mcdougall (@bigmack1) January 31, 2018
Bargain there lads! Hope we have a sell on clause!
— Kyle Jones (@KyleJonesnew) January 31, 2018
Good work guys building a squad and moving us forward
— michael firth (@theofficialMJF) January 31, 2018
Despite the positivity surrounding his move, the young striker didn’t quite have the impact he may have wanted when he first arrived at the Yorkshire club.
As with most signings – especially young players – when they join a new club, it takes time for them to bed in and adapt to a completely new way of playing and a different way of life. What made matters even worse, was that when the Welshman joined the club, he arrived with an injury and then following recovering that, he then picked up a further injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Even though the former West Brom former academy would eventually miss most of the season, at the time of his arrival Leeds coach, Paul Heckingbottom, believed that he was a player of real quality. Indeed during his loan spell at Walsall, the young forward showed flashes of how good he could be despite only scoring five goals.
Leeds have made a great start to the season, and as a result, Roberts struggled to get into the first-team, especially with the Patrick Bamford ahead of him. The youngster did manage to make two appearances in the EFL Cup, despite being played out of position. After making his debut for Wales during the international break, Roberts most recently broke into the first-team squad against Millwall last weekend.
Given the starting role by Bielsa, Roberts took up great positions throughout the game but missed four great chances to score. For a youngster, to pick up great positions is something that usually comes later on in their careers. If a young player continues to get into the right positions, the goals will come.
With Bamford out for a long period of time, Roberts should continue to get consistent game time backing up Kemar Roofe. With the pressure off the young striker, he’ll be able to learn his craft. Moreover, under Bielsa, his game is only getting to improve. It might be a bit early but it looks like the Leeds fans might have been right to be so positive over the youngster.