COMMENT By Will Butcher
Mallik Wilks will be the next teenage prodigy to progress through the Leeds ranks after signing his first professional deal with the club.
The word is that the young striker is the real deal.
Garry Monk has opted to tie down the exciting 18-year-old until the summer of 2018, with fans hoping that Wilks can emulate the likes of Charlie Taylor, Kalvin Phillips and Lewie Coyle.
Former Swansea manager Monk even chose Wilks to sit on the bench at Elland Road for Leeds’ play-off grudge match against Reading earlier this month, which resulted in a 2-0 win.
Wilks has proven to reserve team manager Jason Blunt that he has what it takes to make the progression to the first team after starring in 16 appearances for the Under-18 and Under-23 sides this season.
Possessing an abundance of pace and power, the youngster has proved his ability to find the back of the net with a predatory instinct in front of goal.
Wilks netted a brace against Hull City in the FA Youth Cup earlier this season as well as two goals against Sunderland’s reserve side.
His displays have seen him make the step up at Thorp Arch to train with the senior team, allowing him to catch the eye of Monk, assistant manager Pep Clotet and first-team coach James Beattie.
Now considered Leeds’ fourth-choice striker behind Chris Wood, Souleymane Doukara and Marcus Antonsson, Wilks could be relied upon for cover despite Monk looking to add a striker to his side in January.
But without a senior appearance for the Yorkshire giants, Leeds’ number 36 still has plenty to prove to the Elland Road faithful after putting pen to paper at Thorp Arch.
In other Leeds news, Pontus Jansson has shared his desire to sign for the Yorkshire giants.