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Ian Baraclough reacts to Alfie McCalmont display in Northern Ireland win

Ian Baraclough has lauded Leeds United youngster Alfie McCalmont after the midfielder made his first international start for Northern Ireland on Sunday – in comments posted on the side’s Twitter account.

McCalmont was one of nine players who came in for the friendly with Estonia. And they would have all been hoping to stake a claim for a clash ahead of this week’s World Cup qualifier against Switzerland.

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Shane Ferguson scored the only goal for the visitors in Tallinn. But McCalmont was arguably the most impressive performer on show for Baraclough’s men.

The 21-year-old did extremely well in the middle of the park. And his display prompted plenty of supporters to insist that he was the best player on show.

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Baraclough meanwhile, suggested that he was very happy with what he saw from the midfielder.

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“He’s a little terrier, he loves breaking the play up and looks to just pass it simple,” he told the side’s Twitter account. “When he keeps it simple, he makes the game look very easy and he does very well.

“And he’ll gain on that experience and I thought he was good tonight in that area.”

Could McCalmont become midfielder Leeds are looking for amid Baraclough praise?

For some time, it appeared inevitable that McCalmont would develop into a first-team squad member at Elland Road.

However, his last appearance for Leeds came back in 2019. Instead, he is now on his second loan spell.

And it remains a fact that no player loaned out during Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure has managed to put themselves in a significantly better position upon their return from a spell out on loan.

So McCalmont looks to face an uphill battle. But there are promising signs.

He was outstanding at Oldham last year. And he is now playing at a higher level with Morecambe.

Leeds meanwhile, still have a void to fill in the middle of the park.

It is going to take some doing. But perhaps McCalmont cannot be ruled out as a contender for the position if he enjoys a superb season.

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