Leeds United suffered another defeat in the Championship yesterday, as their season continues to unravel. The Whites lost 2-1 to rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road. Jay-Roy Grot’s first goal for the club had levelled but Atdhe Nuhiu, who earlier put the Owls ahead, scored again to secure victory.
But it was an exciting day for one Leeds player. Tom Pearce was handed his senior debut by Paul Heckingbottom for the game.
Leeds faced something of a left-back shortage ahead of the tie with Laurens De Bock out with an injury. Therefore, the 19-year-old got the call. Pearce has impressed in the under-23 set-up this season and has long been linked with a first-team bow.
After the game, Paul Heckingbottom expressed his joy at the youngster’s performance. The Leeds manager was quoted by the BBC as stating:
“The positive is getting him his debut. I thought he got better as the game went on.
“First-team football at whatever level is totally different to under-23s which is different from what old reserve football used to be so, it’s a big step, a big learning curve. We’ll have a sit down about the differences.
“I’ll be interested to see what he thinks the differences are just of his own interpretations of the game. But you could see second-half, we got him playing forward more, running forward more, they’re his strengths and then he started to affect the game more.”
Pearce certainly did have a decent first game for the first-team. The teen was not exceptional but certainly looks capable of developing into a player that can be useful in the Leeds first-team.
One thing for sure is that he deserves a new contract at Leeds. The teenager penned a new deal last summer, as reported by the official Leeds United website. That deal is scheduled to run until the end of the current campaign along with Eoghan Stokes and Matthew Downing.
Stokes has already moved on, joining Bohemians on a free whilst Downing looks another good prospect for the first-team.
Pearce must surely be in line to get a new deal based on the evidence of yesterday.
He can hopefully be counted on to do a job as a back-up option for the next couple of seasons and then perhaps grow into a much more potent first-team player.
With that in mind, Leeds must make sure they offer Pearce a new contract for next season. Surely yesterday’s first-team inclusion will ensure that is the case.