Leeds fans won’t thank me for heaping yet more attention on their club, but it is hard not to get excited about what is happening at Elland Road. Jermaine Beckford may be set for a move into the Premier League in the summer and last week we looked at the talented midfielder Jonny Howson. This week we stay in Yorkshire to admire the talents of another young Leeds star who could well, one day, be making a big name for himself in the Premier League, Scottish winger Robert Snodgrass.
I would venture that not too many players who have played for Stirling Albion, get invited to Barcelona for a trial. Fewer still would turn it down, but Robert Snodgrass is not any normal player. Born in Glasgow in 1987, the young Snodgrass was given a trial at both Glasgow giants, Rangers and Celtic, however despite Celtic wanting to sign the youngster, Snodgrass instead opted for Livingston, believing he would have far greater chance of making the grade as a player at a smaller club.
As a youngster Snodgrass was a member of the Scottish Under 19 team that reached the final of the 2006 European Championships. Blackburn were now also interested, but Snodgrass remained in Scotland with Livingstone, spending a spell out at Stirling Albion on loan to gain experience.
His qualities however remained firmly in evidence and after 92 games in Scotland, scoring 17 goals, Snodgrass finally accepted a move to Leeds United in July 2008.
Initially Snodgrass found life at Leeds tough and he struggled to hold down a regular first team spot. However near the end of manager Gary McAllister’s reign, Snodgrass catapulted himself into the first team picture with some excellent individual displays, despite the team struggling. Although McAllister was sacked, new manager Simon Grayson quickly recognised the talents the Scotsman offered him and Snodgrass has been virtually an ever present in the Leeds United first team since.
Fans of League One teams will know the qualities he possesses. Able to play as a winger or striker and with an excellent left foot. He is quick, powerful, creative and also gets his fair share of goals. Over the past twelve months he has proved himself as arguably the best winger in League One and this season he has shown he can take his performances to a new level.
Firstly he tormented Liverpool when the Anfield club visited Elland Road in the Carling Cup earlier this season. Snodgrass gave Italian international Andrea Dossena a miserable evening, getting at the defender with ease and creating plenty of chances for his teammates. That performance was further enhanced when he played a major role in helping Leeds secure an outstanding 1-0 FA Cup win at Old Trafford against Manchester United, including thumping a fantastic left foot free kick against the crossbar with Manchester United goalkeeper Kuszczak well beaten.
It is Snodgrass ability down either flank, or centrally, with either foot that makes him a real threat to defences. His crossing is excellent, he is dangerous from set pieces, scores goals, creates chances and allied to that has a fine work ethic.
Yet another PL star in the making currently making a name for himself at Elland Road.