Leeds United’s U21s have been soaring high this season with a number of exciting offensive players scoring goals on a regular basis.
They currently sit top of Premier League 2 group 2 after going through the opening seven fixtures unbeaten.
Combine that with the new threat of Wilfried Gnonto, who scored against Southampton last week and Joe Gelhardt – a more regular part of the first-team picture – and you have a rather ridiculous pool of talent.
All of those young faces have been exceptional at times this term but their remarkable records mean a certain Archie Gray is going rather unnoticed.
The 16-year-old is hot property at Thorp Arch and fresh from his GCSE’s appeared in the match day squad last term, as well as featuring for the senior side in pre-season.
Crucial for Gray is his versatility with the teenager appearing in a multitude of positions through the middle of the pitch, from centre forward, to attacking midfield and in a deep-lying role.
That will be vital in terms of his chances of breaking into Jesse Marsch’s first team with the youngster possessing a special set of tools. He is capable of scoring goals – as his three strikes last term proves – while he’s also capable of acting as the supply line, with three assists for the U18s and U21s combined.
With that in mind, he could be hugely beneficial for the likes of Perkins and Joseph in the seasons ahead, but there is plenty to suggest he could actually surpass them in the future.
The fact he is already banging on the first-team door bodes well, but the glowing reviews of his play style perhaps paint the most exciting picture of Gray’s qualities.
Indeed, speaking of the teenager at the end of last year, Victor Orta said: “He’s one of those players you see every, I don’t know. I remember Kun Aguero and saying, ‘what is this?’ It’s something that happens once in a long time. [It] has actually happened only a few times – in the South America U20s tournament, Kun scored 10 or 12 goals or something like that, you could see he was different. Archie gives me the same feeling.”
That’s a rather striking comparison but he’s not the only man who holds Gray in high esteem with Jamie Redknapp dubbing him “the best young midfield player I’ve seen in years” as well as a “future England star.”
Those quotes are certainly worth salivating over and in the words of Jamie Shackleton, there are “exciting things” to expect from the young talent in the coming years.
It feels like only a matter of time before he makes an impact like Perkins and co, and once he does, there will be no looking back. He is a special talent who could surpass all of those currently in the Leeds academy.