Why a new deal for Jordan Stevens is a step in the right direction for Leeds
According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United have secured the future of teenage midfielder Jordan Stevens, who has put pen to paper on a new two-and-a-half-year deal to extend his stay at Elland Road until the summer of 2022.
Born in Gloucester, the 19-year-old rose through the youth ranks of Forest Green Rovers and signed his first professional contract with his boyhood club in September 2019.
The teenager clocked up as many as 15 appearances for Forest Green during the first half of the 2017-18 campaign, marking his breakthrough season in senior men’s football. He then earned a coveted move to Leeds United back in February 2018.
Stevens made several matchday squad appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team in the Championship over the course of the 2018-19 campaign before eventually earning his senior professional debut for the Whites as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat against Stoke City in January 2019.
Despite training with the seniors, Stevens continued to feature as a regular for Carlos Corberan’s U23 side during the 2018-19 season and was instrumental in their triumphant campaign at the Professional Development League North.
Leeds’ U23 side eventually became the national Professional Development League champions by beating Birmingham City in the final and the 19-year-old was one of the cornerstones of their successful campaign.
The versatile starlet, who was part of a 16-man first-team squad for the pre-season tour of Australia, has once again been a regular fixture in the Argentine boss’ matchday squads for the some of the Championship games this term. His most recent appearance on the bench was during the Whites’ 4-0 drubbing of Middlesbrough.
Having initially started his career as a central midfielder at Forest Green Rovers, Jordan Stevens has played in a wide variety of roles since his move to Elland Road, including in an unfamiliar right-back position for the U23s.
To put things into perspective, Jordan Stevens has only made a solitary first-team appearance for Leeds United till date but he continues to be a fine up and coming player in the club’s youth ranks.
The 19-year-old’s obvious talent and vast potential, coupled with his versatility, make him a key asset.
Bielsa has often placed his faith in youngsters, as evident from the rise of Leif Davis, Jamie Shackleton, Ryan Edmondson and Jack Clarke in recent times.
Clarke, of course, earned a big-money move to Tottenham earlier in the summer before returning to Elland Road on loan.
The West Yorkshire giants have initiated a contract renewal drive to secure the future of several of their first-team mainstays, with the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Mateusz Klich, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper all putting pen to paper on fresh terms.
Leif Davis also recently pledged his future to the club. While Stevens is not yet a full member of the first-team squad, a new deal for him is yet another indication of the kind of progress that the Whites are making behind the scenes.
That Stevens has featured in Bielsa’s matchday squads and trained regularly with the first-team are clear indications of the fact that he is well and truly in the manager’s plans moving forward.
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Pascal Struijk and Ken Temenuzhkov penned new deals earlier in the year and Jordan Stevens is the latest U23 star to pledge his future to the club.
All in all, a new deal for the 19-year-old talent certainly strikes the right chords for Leeds and this looks like a move that could pay off handsomely in the years to come.