COMMENT By Will Butcher
Mallik Wilks should be sent out on loan by Leeds this month in an attempt to continue his development into a first-team striker.
The 18-year-old is believed to be the real deal, with the potential to surpass fellow academy products such as Charlie Taylor, Alex Mowatt and Kalvin Phillips.
But as manager Garry Monk looks to mastermind Leeds’ first return to the Premier League since their financial collapse of 2004, Wilks is likely to be overlooked as Monk relies on his trusted first-team stars.
That means the likes of top scorer Chris Wood, Swede Marcus Antonsson and Senegalese forward Souleymane Doukara will remain ahead of Wilks in the striker pecking order.
Wilks didn’t even make it into the squad for Leeds’ FA Cup game on Monday against League 2 opposition, so Monk clearly thinks he’s not ready yet.
With that in mind, Leeds’ number 36 should request a loan move away from Elland Road to prove to Garry Monk that he deserves a first-team chance.
Wilks signed a new deal with the Yorkshire giants last month which will see him remain with his boyhood club until the summer of 2018, and appeared on the bench for the Championship game against Reading.
But with Antonsson fully fit after a spasm in his back, Wilks will have to wait for a first-team chance as he continues to excel in the reserve side.
Already more than used to playing for Jason Blunt’s development team, the next stage of his career will be to gain regular first-team football with plenty of Football League clubs likely to be keen on chancing their arm with him.
Possessing bags of speed and a powerful frame, the youngster has shown huge amounts of promise with an eye for goal that should guarantee returns in the lower leagues.
In other Leeds transfer news, here are three options surrounding the future of this 21-year-old star.