Leeds starlet Alfie McCalmont is making a name for himself whilst on loan at League One side Oldham this season, and Marcelo Bielsa will no doubt be very impressed.
Speaking after he saw the 21-year-old put pen to paper on a new long-term deal to stay at Elland Road, former Leeds man Noel Whelan raved about the midfielder.
He said: “A very good player, great on the ball and a good football mind. He is one that is learning his trade from watching Kalvin and being in and around that first-team setup.
“It is important that these young lads are integrated. It is vital for their progression and to give them confidence to step in when needed because there will be injuries and suspensions. Use them – that is why you have an academy and youth policy.”
And since joining the Latics, McCalmont has been in great form, netting six times and providing a further two assists in 27 league games, including bagging three in the club’s last four.
Whelan also recently lauded the youngster for his impressive start to life on loan at Oldham, saying: “He is a player that is immensely talented and he will do very well for Oldham. The way he plays the game is very intelligent.
“This is not a loan with a view to a permanent move from Leeds, this is a learning process. You have to be mentally tough to go out on loan, especially in League Two because it is more direct and robust compared to what you would get in the Premier League and Championship. He will be learning a lot about his game.”
As Whelan suggests, the whole point of Leeds sending McCalmont to Oldham is to ensure he learns about the game by playing first-team football week-in and week-out, something that would have been hard to come by at Elland Road given the club’s now Premier League status.
But a season away, sharpening his skills and getting attuned to the mental toughness that will surely be gained from playing in League One, will stand the 21-year-old in good stead and will give Bielsa another option in the middle of the park.
Given how he’s making waves at Oldham, McCalmont will be someone who Bielsa and Leeds will be keeping a close eye on the starlet ahead of the following campaign.