With Joe Gelhardt beginning to make an impression on Leeds United’s first-team in recent weeks, Marcelo Bielsa will no doubt be keeping a close eye on some of the club’s brightest young academy prospects.
If he had his sights on the Yorkshire club’s FA Youth Cup contest against Coventry City in midweek, then he would have been left suitably impressed by one teenager in particular – Max Dean.
The 17-year-old netted twice as the Whites ran out 4-1 winners away from home, with both of his finishes distinctly different in nature: one a well-timed effort from a cut-back, and another latching onto a through ball over the top over the Coventry defence.
Aside from his impressive FA Youth Cup display, he has also been shining at under-23 level too, scoring three goals in eight games in Premier League 2 and also netting once in the EFL Trophy away to Salford.
It’s been no surprise that Leeds’ under-23 boss Mark Jackson has waxed lyrical about the forward and his character, saying: “You don’t have to prepare it with Deano. Deano’s a fiery character, I don’t like to quash that in him. He’s got an edge to him and how he plays – and I like that in his personality.
“Yes he gets frustrated at times and we have to curtail it but his hunger to press and work hard and his hunger to score goals is really apparent.”
In late October, despite a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal, Jackson showered Dean with more praise, saying: “I spoke to Max before the game. When he first came to the club, he had a real intensity about his play, really aggressive style in how he pressed and how he competed – we have chats with the players all the time and there’s been stages where we think that’s sort of dipped off a little bit in recent games.
“We’ve had a few chats recently with Max, and particularly before the game, I said ‘listen, you need to try and get back to those moments when you were playing in the 23s last year’. I thought he took that conversation well and he took it on board today and he had a much more positive performance.”
The 17-year-old could well be the next big thing at Elland Road if he continues to improve with the under-23s.