Why Mallik Wilks Could Be The Next Big Thing To Come Out Of The Leeds Academy
Leeds United do have an enviable record when it comes to producing talent from their academy in West Yorkshire, it has to be said.
The latest name to come to the fore is that of Mallik Wilks, the 18-year-old who made his Leeds debut last season in the FA Cup during the defeat to Sutton United. It’s his performances at under-18 and under-23 level that have helped him forge a big reputation already and he may spring a few surprises this season.
Wilks only signed professional terms at the Elland Road club as recently as December 2016 having greatly impressed then managed Garry Monk, soon after his call-up to the bench for the match against Reading earlier that month.
At six feet tall, Wilks has it all; height, pace, power and the ability to finish. There’s no doubt whatsoever he has a big future in the game; the only questions are at what level and at which club? Leeds would do well to keep hold of as many of these prospects as they can, following key departures in recent years.
Charlie Taylor has joined Burnley on a free transfer and his departure comes after those of Lewis Cook and Sam Byram in recent years. Although the money has been gratefully accepted, you can’t help think that Leeds would be in a much more healthy position with players like that still at the club.
Sticking with those two, Lewis Cook plays for Bournemouth and Sam Byram plays for West Ham. With the greatest of respect to those clubs, if Leeds United were in the Premier League, they’d be a bigger draw than both and so sometimes staying put and helping your current club to reach the top level is better than jumping ship to reach the promised land that little bit faster.
With a fully-committed Taylor, plus Cook and Byram, I fully believe Leeds could have been promoted last season and that is worth more to this club than any amount of transfer fees. For the players involved, they also would have found themselves by now in just the same, if not an even better position for next season and so lessons have to be learned all round.
I hope that Mallik Wilks gets game time under Thomas Christiansen this season, that he gets Leeds to the top and that he commits to the club which has helped him realise his dreams. He is a talent indeed.