Leeds United could already have their next Liam Cooper within their youth ranks.
The Whites’ U23 setup were unfortunately relegated from Premier League 2 this season but in their most recent outing, a 2-2 draw against Arsenal’s academy, there was one youngster who impressed in Jeremiah Chilokoa-Mullen.
‘Some brilliant tackles and blocks as the last man or in the penalty box during a goalmouth scramble or two. Could have won it with some dancing feet of his own in the latter stages,’ wrote LeedsLive reporter Beren Cross, who also graded him an 8/10 in his post-match ratings.
No player was rated higher and it was even better than first-teamer Jamie Shackleton and the likes of Leo Hjelde and Nohan Kenneh.
The 17-year-old, who turns 18 in June, signed his first professional contract at Elland Road back in the summer, penning a deal until 2023. Despite being in his late teens, Mullen will be part of the U23s squad permanently going forward.
Indeed, he has made 11 appearances at centre-back in Premier League 2. His form and potential has caught the eye at the international level too, as he has seemingly emerged as a regular for Scotland U19s.
“I’m a player who reads the game quite well and I like to defend on the front foot, I want to keep learning under the coaching staff and become a better player in general,” the talented youngster revealed to Leeds’ official website.
Meanwhile, ex-defender Ben Parker has been left impressed by the teenager, telling the LS11 podcast in January 2021: “Young Mullen came in at centre-half. He’s a player who we snapped up from Liverpool, predominantly he’s been with the under-18s. Only a young lad. I thought he did ever so well with Cresswell.”
Also lauded as “really strong” by his former youth coach turned first-team assistant Mark Jackson, Mullen could well become the true heir to Cooper’s throne at Elland Road.
Considering the veteran has missed time with injury and will be 31 by the time next season starts, it could be wise to develop the 17-year-old with this in mind going forward.
The young Scot could well replace the 13-cap international in the coming years.