Rookie handed debut for Leeds U-23s and immediately appointed captain
By Harry Sykes
Paudie O’Connor was named captain of Leeds Under-23s on his debut on Monday night.
The official Leeds website reported that the recent signing from Limerick was installed as skipper by manager Jason Blunt for the 1-0 defeat against QPR at Elland Road.
The honour was given to the centre-back, 19, even though he was only confirmed as a Leeds signing on 16 March following his transfer from Irish top-flight club Limerick.
It suggests the Leeds coaching staff regard O’Connor as a player possessing considerable leadership skills.
O’Connor played the full 90 minutes in his first match for the Leeds development side but was unable to prevent them succumbing to another defeat.
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A first-half penalty from Josh Bowler was enough to secure the three points for the visitors after Clarke Odour had fouled the youngster.
Bowler finished his spot-kick after Aramide Oteh had earlier fired his over the crossbar following an O’Connor challenge deemed to be worthy of a penalty.
O’Connor makes the move to the promotion-chasing Championship club after spending three years at Limerick, where he made 39 senior appearances.
He has initially linked up with the Blunt-coached Under-23s and will try to impress the coaching staff into promoting him into the first team squad, where the established centre-backs are Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley and Liam Cooper.
There is a clear path from the Leeds youth set-up into the first team with Ronaldo Vieira, Charlie Taylor and Kalvin Phillips all progressing into the senior side in recent seasons, as 2016 departures Sam Byram and Lewis Cook did before them.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.