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Paul Heckingbottom’s previous comments suggest Callum Nicell’s Leeds United demise is no surprise

Leeds United

Paul Heckingbottom’s previous comments suggest Callum Nicell’s Leeds United demise is no surprise

Leeds United’s young midfielder has been allowed to join Leicester City on trial.

It seems Leeds United are allowing 19-year-old midfielder Callum Nicell an exit from the club this summer. The Republic of Ireland youth international played in a Leicester City under-23 friendly on Friday and Leeds Live is reporting that he is being allowed to find a new club.

It is quite a turnaround for the player. At the end of the 2017-18 season, he found himself in the Leeds United first-team. Then, in September, he was handed a new two-year deal at Elland Road. 

Many wondered if he might find himself earning a shot under Marcelo Bielsa, but he has seemingly gone backwards since the Argentine arrived. 

But perhaps it is important to remember that his inclusion in the Leeds first-team was perhaps a false dawn. 

 

Leeds’ manager at the time was Paul Heckingbottom. He had included Nicell in the matchday squad for games against Sunderland and Preston. However, his comments to BBC Radio Leeds at the time suggested Nicell never really had a chance of playing.


“He’s homegrown, that’s it. 

“It sounds nasty, but it’s not at all. We have to have seven in the 18 and he was next in line. 

“He has trained with us and is doing well, but it is tough on some players who maybe would consider themselves in front of Callum.”


Instead, it seems that Nicell was only included to meet a Football League quota. The likes of Pawel Cibicki and Hadi Sacko, for example, would have likely been on the bench were it not for the regulations. 

Now, with the likes of Mateusz Bogusz and Alfie McCalmont ahead of him, it is clear that Leeds do not have a clear pathway to first-team football for the Irishman.

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