Leeds United are surely in line for a summer of change as manager Jesse Marsch looks to stamp down his mark at Elland Road following four largely joyous years under Marcelo Bielsa.
The Yorkshire giants moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a hard-fought point down at Crystal Palace on Monday night, keeping safety in the Premier League firmly in their own grasp.
Despite it being so early in his tenure, the American head coach hasn’t been afraid to trust youth at times, as evident this week as he turned to Sam Greenwood once again – the 20-year-old academy gem came on after just an hour with the Whites in need of an attacking spark.
Perhaps Marsch could find another interesting solution from the U23s set up in the form of Sean McGurk, 19.
Heading into the off-season, Leeds have been linked with renewed interest in RB Salzburg dynamo Brenden Aaronson, who was seemingly a target prior to the 48-year-old’s arrival in the dugout but given he has managed the USMNT international before, those rumours will only increase further.
But he could well already have a player capable of filling such a role in the Liverpool-born teenager.
Primarily a left-winger, McGurk is more than adept at playing on the right and through the middle as a no.10, just like Aaronson under Marsch – 17 of his 25 appearances came on the left, with the other eight being spread across the middle and right, as per Transfermarkt.
Whilst the Leeds gem is yet to taste action in the first-team squad, he has been a regular for the U23s in the Premier League 2 this campaign, where he has delivered three direct goal contributions from 17 appearances.
McGurk’s ability to press from the front with relentless energy will surely catch Marsch’s eye sooner or later and that’s exactly what you’d expect from his former Salzburg star, who ranks amongst the top 1% of his positional peers for pressures (27.23 per 90).
“Sean was brilliant, he’s been amazing. He had a slow start to his scholarship with an injury in the summer, but since he’s been fit, he’s got himself into the team and stayed there. He’s so effective in games, he sets things up, he scores goals and he’ll always do that because of his ability.”
Meanwhile, McGurk’s efforts in west Yorkshire haven’t gone completely unnoticed either – The Athletic’s Phil Hay deemed him “a cracking wee player”, whilst the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Lee Sobot dubbed the teen “a bag of tricks.”
On the above evidence, Marsch could well already have an Aaronson-like starlet within his ranks. The former Latics sensation ought to get a look in heading into next season.