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Steve Evans highlights his role in Ronaldo Vieira and Bailey Peacock-Farrell's development

Former Leeds United manager Steve Evans has been taking some of the credit for the development of two youngsters at Leeds United. 

The former Whites boss, who was hired by controversial chairman Massimo Cellino, is now the head coach at Gillingham and was talking to Kent Online regarding the future first-team chances of talented teenage goalkeeper Joe Walsh at Priestfield. 

In doing so, he referenced how he helped Ronaldo Vieira and Bailey Peacock-Farrell break into the first-team at Leeds United. 

“There are kids I played at Leeds. Ronaldo Vieira and Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who is now playing for Burnley in the Premier League, I gave kids like that their debut.

“I never thought about their age. I just looked at them training and looked at them playing and I thought ‘if you are good enough you are old enough’.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you are 18 or 28.”

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Indeed, Evans did hand Vieira his first-team debut at Leeds. The England youth international featured in the final game of the season against Preston North End in 2015-16. Peacock-Farrell was handed his first-team debut at Leeds the month before, with Marco Silvestri and Ross Turnbull both out injured. 

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Ronaldo Vieira of Leeds United looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on April 13, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

But other than those two appearances, neither played another game for Evans, who left Leeds that summer.

Vieira had his best time at Leeds under the guidance of Garry Monk whilst Peacock-Farrell came in after Felix Wiedwald struggled under Paul Heckingbottom’s short reign. 

But both were deemed dispensable by Marcelo Bielsa when Leeds United were looking to balance the books.

Vieira was sold to Sampdoria in 2018 whilst Peacock-Farrell was replaced by Kiko Casilla and subsequently sold on to Burnley to act as Nick Pope’s back-up in the Premier League. 

One youngster at Leeds that Evans did not take a liking to was Kalvin Phillips, who struggled to make the first-team under his management. Now, under Bielsa’s tutelage, Phillips is widely regarded as one of the Championship’s best players and was being tipped for an England call-up prior to football’s suspension.

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