Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has backed Whites youngster Ryan Edmondson to be a future success story at Elland Road.
The Lowdown: Edmondson heads out on loan
Marcelo Bielsa is looking to build an even more formidable squad at Leeds this summer, with his side looking to push on from their excellent ninth-place finish in the Premier League.
One player who won’t be playing any part in the Whites’ 2021/22 campaign is Edmondson, with the youngster joining League One club Fleetwood Town on loan.
The hope is that the young striker gains valuable experience away from Leeds, coming back to Yorkshire a more rounded player next year.
The Latest: Pundit backs youngster long-term
Whelan clearly has high hopes for Edmondson in the future, with the former Whites forward speaking highly of the 20-year-old to Football Insider, but admitting that he needs to impress at Fleetwood:
“I think it’s an opportunity to go to a team where they like to play football. He’s got a platform here to really work with. Many seasons now he has been just sitting in the background, waiting for an opportunity.
“He went to Aberdeen, got injured. He really needs to get off to a flyer, I think. Have a really good preseason under his belt, get as fit as he possibly can and then make this loan move work.
“There’s still life for him at Leeds, there really is, but he needs to progress now. He’s 20 now, this is when he really needs to start shining. He’s been given the platform, the opportunity.
“It may be disappointing to some players going from a top-flight club out on loan. I see it as an opportunity for them to put themselves on the big stage here. I don’t want to see players at that age playing in the under-23s.
“They’re going to learn their trade by playing real football with a club and it’s up to him to make it work. He’s got to show that professionalism.
“He should be, in my opinion, coming from Leeds United to Fleetwood a standout. No disrespect but he should be leading that team out there.”
The Verdict: Is he good enough?
It makes perfect sense for Edmondson to head out on loan, with competition for places simply too strong at Leeds, not to mention that he isn’t yet ready to thrive at the top level given that he only has two senior appearances for the Whites.
Over time, though, the hope is that he eventually becomes a genuine squad option for Bielsa – the 20-year-old has been hailed as ‘terrific’ by his former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes – although he will have to go up a level for that to happen.
It is never too easy to gauge how a youngster’s career will pan out, but the next 12 months could show how good Edmondson really is. As Whelan says, this is his prime chance to prove his worth to his parent club.
In other news, a pundit has made a big claim regarding the future of one pivotal Leeds figure this summer. Find out who it is here.
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