While Leeds United may not have had much representation in Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad for the recent international break, one academy starlet did leave a big impression while on duty for the Three Lions: Sam Greenwood.
The 20-year-old opened his account for the U20s on Tuesday night, kicking off the scoring in a 3-1 victory over Germany with a very well executed-finish.
Greenwood of course was thrown straight into the deep end by Jesse Marsch just prior to the international break, having to come on to replace an injured Patrick Bamford mid-way through the first-half.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Yorkshire Evening Post, Graham Smyth gave him an impressive seven, saying: “Worked hard. Struggled to make an impact at times against vastly experienced defenders but did enough.”
With The Athletic revealing that Bamford is set to be out for a minimum of six weeks and faces a race against time to be fit for Leeds’ remaining Premier League games this season, the onus will be on the likes of Greenwood to somehow fill those massive shoes.
While Joe Gelhardt represents the more senior option out of the two, even despite ‘Joffy’ himself being a year younger at 19, Greenwood could provide that X-factor that opposition teams may not be aware about.
In his debut season campaign at Elland Road last season, Greenwood bagged 12 goals in just 18 games, playing in a number of different roles, including up front, behind the striker and further back as a central midfielder.
And, he’s got a big fan in former Leeds ace Noel Whelan, who said: “(He’s) another player who possesses an immense amount of ability. To have a weapon like that in your side is great. You can see the ability he has but the free-kicks are about the hard work he puts in on the training ground and for that he deserves to be praised.”
The Whites have crucially given themselves a bit of breathing space to the sides below them in the Premier League table thanks to a couple of crucial victories over the likes of Wolves and Norwich, so the pressure on a young striker like Greenwood to fire on all cylinders right away has lessened considerably.
That weight being lifted off his shoulders a touch could spark the former Arsenal starlet into life, and get Elland Road rocking with a couple of lively performances.