By Alex Stevens
Steve McClaren has tipped wonderkid Ronaldo Vieira for big things after his superb performance for Leeds in their Championship win against Derby.
Vieira, 18, provided further evidence of his amazing rise this season with a dominant central midfield display alongside skipper Liam Bridcutt.
Leeds did not only defeat rivals Derby 1-0 at Elland Road but produced one of their most convincing performances of a season that is promising a real tilt at promotion to the top flight for the Yorkshire giants.
Derby manager McClaren delivered a generous appraisal of Vieira as he singled out the Guinea-Bissau born youngster for being integral to Leeds’ 10th win from 13 league matches.
“Midfield was a huge area,” said McClaren, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “We talked about winning the battles and dominating that area, but I’m afraid Leeds dominated.
“(Ronaldo) Vieira, wow. At 18 years old he’s got a bright future. He ran the show tonight and gave us a bit of a lesson.
“Leeds deserved to win. We’ve got no excuses. We have to come back into work on Monday and get ready for Reading.”
The praise for Vieira is especially meaningful as McClaren is a big name and the former manager of England, FC Twente and Middlesbrough, as well as being assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson during Manchester United’s glory years.
Elland Road academy graduate Vieira was handed his Leeds debut by Steve Evans at the end of last season but has made huge strides under the guidance of Garry Monk in this campaign.
The teenager scored the matchwinner against Norwich in November, which was the personal highlight of a campaign in which he has made 22 appearances in all competitions.
It is a sign of the trust that Monk has in Vieira that he has started 12 of the team’s 26 Championship matches, and has been a key figure for the third-placed side in the division.
In other Leeds news, the club have slapped a mega price tag on this first team star after Premier League giants expressed an interest in signing him this month.