The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth has dropped an intriguing claim on Leeds United loanee Alfie McCalmont, even making some comparisons between him and Arsenal star Ben White.
The 21-year-old McCalmont has joined League One side Morecambe on a season-long loan after spending the previous campaign in League Two with Oldham, and Smyth has now suggested that if he wants to make his mark on Marcelo Bielsa’s team in the years to come, he will have his work cut out.
He said: “You can never rule anything out, but he’ll have to do what Ben White did and show he can handle the step up to L1 with real comfort, having done well in L2. Leeds would have listened to permanent offers this summer though so he has his work cut out. Lots of potential I think.”
The midfielder was in impressive form for Oldham last season, scoring ten goals in 41 games in all competitions, and providing a further five assists too, being a key reason behind why they avoided relegation to non-league.
After seeing him make waves at Boundary Park, former Leeds man Noel Whelan waxed lyrical about the midfielder, 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.”
And, speaking after he saw the 21-year-old put pen to paper on a new long-term deal to stay at Elland Road, Whelan insisted that Bielsa should be looking to utilise him more often.
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.”
Another season away out on loan, this time at Morecambe, will stand the youngster in good stead and if he performs well, he could give Bielsa another option in the middle of the park next season.
Leeds fans will be intrigued to see if McCalmont does indeed show shades of White and come through the divisions to eventually make his mark at Elland Road.
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