COMMENT By Will Butcher
Teenage star Mallik Wilks was named on the Leeds bench against Reading on Tuesday night, during the 2-0 win at Elland Road.
Still only 17 years of age, the young striker has surpassed expectations in the Yorkshire giants’ youth sides leading to the call up to the matchday squad to face Jaap Stam’s Reading.
But without a senior appearance for Leeds, he is still very much an unknown player in Garry Monk’s squad.
Here are three things Leeds fans may not have known about their newest star:
Reserve team manager Jason Blunt described Wilks’ pace as “very explosive, a threat in behind” when quizzed about the wonderkid in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post. His ability to leave defenders in his wake as well as being able to chase loose balls in the channels has caught the attention of Monk. With Leeds lacking a striker with an abundance of pace, Wilks could be given a chance to feature in Monk’s side sooner rather than later.
Training with the first team
Unbeknown to most Leeds fans, the attacking starlet has been training with Monk’s first team in recent times. Speaking after the 2-0 victory, Monk revealed that the youngster had been with the first team and could continue to rival the likes of Marcus Antonsson for a spot on the bench. His continued experiences at Thorp Arch will only benefit Wilks, who can directly impress manager Monk while training with the senior squad.
Lethal in front of goal
Scoring regularly for all of Leeds youth sides, Wilks was on hand to score a brace in Leeds Under-18s’ 3-2 defeat to Hull in the FA Youth Cup just last week. Wilks has scored for Blunt’s Under-23’s side on many occasions this season, including a brace against Sunderland’s reserve side. With his undoubted eye for goal, Wilks could soon be featuring regularly on the bench for Monk.
In other Leeds news, this reliable journalist has revealed what fans can expect from Wilks.