After seeing him shine out on loan last season, Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa must finally look to unleash Alfie McCalmont in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old was in impressive form for Oldham Athletic in League Two, scoring ten goals in 41 games in all competitions, and providing a further five assists too, being a key reason behind why they avoided relegation to non-league.
After seeing him make waves at Boundary Park, former Leeds man Noel Whelan waxed lyrical about the midfielder, saying: “He is a player that is immensely talented and he will do very well for Oldham. The way he plays the game is very intelligent.
Should McCalmont be given a chance?
“This is not a loan with a view to a permanent move from Leeds, this is a learning process. You have to be mentally tough to go out on loan, especially in League Two because it is more direct and robust compared to what you would get in the Premier League and Championship. He will be learning a lot about his game.”
And, speaking after he saw the 21-year-old put pen to paper on a new long-term deal to stay at Elland Road, Whelan insisted that Bielsa should be looking to utilise him more often.
He said: “A very good player, great on the ball and a good football mind. He is one that is learning his trade from watching Kalvin and being in and around that first-team setup.
“It is important that these young lads are integrated. It is vital for their progression and to give them confidence to step in when needed because there will be injuries and suspensions. Use them – that is why you have an academy and youth policy.”
A season away at Oldham, where he’s had regular football and developed into a real goal-scoring midfielder, will stand the youngster in good stead and will give Bielsa another option in the middle of the park.
And given he has already been involved in Bielsa’s set-up, he could go onto make a real impression and potentially even partner Phillips in the engine room and give Leeds that vital source of goals from central midfield – compare to McCalmont’s ten, the best a midfielder for the Whites managed was the four Mateusz Klich netted.
The Leeds starlet may feel that next season offers him the perfect opportunity to show Bielsa that he’s deserving of a chance in the first-team.