Forget Wood: Why Monk must build Leeds team around this player for next decade
COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Leeds manager Garry Monk should be looking to build the side around youngster Ronaldo Vieira.
The Whites boss has become a popular figure at Elland Road since his summer appointment and could even achieve a promotion during his first season in charge.
Regardless of whether Leeds are in the Premier League or Championship next season, Monk needs to ensure that youngster Vieira stays at the core of the side.
The 18-year-old is enjoying a breakout season and has made a seamless transition into the first-team from the club’s academy.
The central midfielder is competing for a starting spot alongside senior players Eunan O’Kane and Liam Bridcutt, and is more than holding his own.
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He has made 33 appearances this campaign across all competitions and is showing maturity beyond his years.
Monk has a number of talented stars at his disposal including the likes of Chris Wood, Pontus Jansson and Pablo Hernandez, but he should look to make Vieira the heartbeat of the side during the next decade.
The combative midfielder is nowhere near the finished article yet, but his potential is immense.
He has proved in a number of games this season that he can already compete with the best in the Championship and he delivered one of his best performances to date at the weekend in the 2-0 win over Brighton.
Vieira was colossal in the centre of the park and was superb at breaking up play for his side.
The midfielder is only going to continue improving his decision making in possession and he has all the attributes to become a star in the Premier League.
Leeds need to ensure that his long-term future is with the Yorkshire club by offering an improved contract and allowing him to continue growing under Monk.
Premier League sides Chelsea and Everton have two fantastic central midfielders in N’Golo Kane and Idrissa Gueye respectively, who are in their starting XI every game to break up play and dominate the midfield battle.
With the right development, Leeds’ ace Vieira could become a powerhouse in the top-flight and Monk should be planning his team around the teenager.
In other Leeds news, Dougie Freedman has admitted he has been blown away by the club’s senior man.