Jermaine Beckford is confident that Leeds United’s youngster Ian Poveda is going to turn into a “different animal” and has advised him to get physically stronger.
The 20-year-old attacker is a full part of Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team squad this season and is extremely highly-rated, which is why he’s featured off the bench in both of the previous two Premier League games.
He is diminutive 5ft 5in winger that is agile on the ball and loves to run at defenders with pace, but someone of his age and stature might need some time adjusting to the physical nature of the Premier League.
The English speedster made a real positive impact in the recent 1-1 league draw with Manchester City after coming on at half-time and he’s got a fearlessness on the ball that makes him exciting for supporters to watch play, but a nightmare for opposition defences.
Beckford has admitted that he’s a big fan of Poveda, but has just pointed out an area he can improve
“He came on at half-time and changed the game [against Man City]. He was a very, very exciting player,” Beckford said.
“My only issue is he just needs to be a little bit stronger, he’s got everything else. He’s so good, so clever, so quick, so tricky, so skilful, but he just needs to be a little bit stronger.
“I reckon in a few months, six months or so he’s going to be a different animal. I’m super excited about seeing him, seeing what he brings to us.”
It’s so easy to overlook the fact that Poveda has only played eight games in his entire senior career so far, one for ex-club Manchester City and the rest for Yorkshire giants Leeds.
Whites manager Bielsa clearly has huge faith in the upcoming talent and it shows in the chances he’s given him to impress so far this season.
Poveda appears unlikely to break into the XI anytime soon, but is playing alongside some top-class talents every single day in training and he’s got the ability to play an important squad role this season.