Right-back Lewie Coyle could never be accused of not seizing an opportunity.
Sent off to Fleetwood on loan last summer, the 22-year-old is heading back to Elland Road after a stunning season with the club’s player-of-the-year award and a supporters’ player-of-the-year award.
Across 47 appearances he scored five goals and was described by the manager John Sheridan as being “outstanding”.
Talking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Sherdian said: “If I was going to pick a best player while I’ve been here then I’d pick him.”
Those 47 games have given him the experience and know-how he needs to come back and meet the biggest challenge of his career – staking a claim in the Leeds first-team.
Coyle has come up from the youth ranks at Leeds and made 23 appearances for his club, the last a full 90 minutes in the final game of the previous campaign against Wigan.
He was deemed not good enough then, although ironically the club might have thought about recalling him after a serious injury to first choice Luke Ayling.
Instead, they left him at Fleetwood and that looks to have been the right call – the value of a full campaign at Fleetwood seems to have paid dividends.
And his return in the summer could solve one big problem for Victor Orta, who is fighting fires on a number of flanks with limited funds.
Ayling is back and played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 win against QPR at the end of the season. He’s been missed and he’ll be Leeds’ number one right-back next season.
But Berardi, despite his willing, hasn’t been able to deputise to a high enough level and his temperament, while respected by fans, gets him into trouble far too often – two red cards in the Championship and a further two match suspension saw him miss nine games in total, or almost 1/5th of the season.
Coyle can now prove that his time at Fleetwood was what he needed to step up to the gruelling Championship.
He might not be first choice but he’ll be an able deputy and offer a level of safety that Berardi can’t.
That will leave Orta to focus on other areas of the team that need his attention – and we’d suggest goals should be at the top of his agenda, along with a centre-back that can form a brilliant partnership with Pontus Jansson.