By Richard Parks
Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that he tried to sign new Leeds United signing Tyler Roberts when he was manager of Barnsley.
The newly-appointed United manager explained at his inaugural United press conference that the Tykes were keen to land the striker, 19, on a loan deal and he had extensive talks with the player’s representative.
Roberts was signed by Leeds on deadline day last month from West Brom for what was widely reported to be a fee of an initial £2.5million rising to £4million including performance-related add-ons.
He was unavailable for selection for Leeds last weekend but Heckingbottom explained that he did a light training session on Thursday and may be involved in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United.
“Possibly, like I say we’ve got a lot to factor in,” Heckingbottom said of Roberts, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“Tyler is someone I have seen play quite a lot, I spoke to his agent a number of times about taking him on loan myself.
“I know about Tyler but I’m also about making people better and people earning places in the team, earning the right to play and people aren’t ready, there’s people training every day who are ready so we have to make sure one he is right to play and we can prove it while he work with him and secondly he deserves to play.”
The striker became the third expensive senior signing for Leeds in January after £4.5million central midfielder Adam Forshaw and £1.5million left-back Laurens De Bock.
There were also a host of acquisitions for the Under-23s, including striker duo Oliver Sarkic and Sam Dalby, defenders Aape Halme and Pascal Struijk, and goalkeeper Kamil Miazek.
Roberts, who is a Wales Under-21 international, spent the first half of this season at League One outfit Walsall, where he scored five goals in 15 matches.