When Ronaldo Vieira first signed for Leeds as a youth player he attracted some obvious interest. Two of the most famous names in recent football combine to make his, and it caught the eye of many Leeds fans as you would expect.
Leeds fans got their first glimmer of Vieira at Preston North End at the end of last season. A five minute appearance wasn’t much to go on, showing a few good touches before Preston spoiled the party for the travelling army we took over there. Vieira was named in the travelling squad for the pre-season tour to Ireland earlier this month and impressed in the two outings, especially against Shamrock Rovers on Saturday.
At 17 he signed his first professional deal two months ago, penning a two-year-deal just before the Preston game. This highlights two things. One is that Leeds rate Vieira highly, the deal gives him the chance to breakthrough in the next couple of years. The second is less encouraging in my opinion. If Vieira has the potential to make it at Leeds then lets sign him up for three or four years and really give him time to progress. As it stands Vieira’s contract will run out at the end of the 2017/2018 season. The wages will reflect his age and inexperience so it shouldn’t cost much to give him longer deal. If he impresses so much then we give him a better deal in the contract, two years just seems short-term planning, rather than long.
Vieira started at Benfica in Portugal before moving to England and looking for a club. He joined the i2i Academy and impressed before moving into the Leeds United Youth team and continued his progression. Leeds fans intrigue was met by the youngster playing some minutes against Shelbourne last Wednesday, and then starting against Shamrock Rovers as most of the team was reversed for Saturday. Vieira intercepted and drove forward before setting up new signing Marcus Antonsson early in the game. This started a very good performance in the centre of the park with Matt Grimes. Despite the opposition not being the strongest he has made an early impression this summer.
Many fans and some journalists are touting the young midfielder to make some inroads in the first-team even at this early stage. The departure of Lewis Cook was extremely disappointing but it gives others a chance to fight for a place that opens up. Cook broke into the Leeds team at 17 and didn’t look out of place. Two years on he left for £10 million. Leeds are known for giving the young players a chance. Baily Peacock-Farrell and Kalvin Phillips both signed new deals with the club once Garry Monk arrived, the pair keen to make an impression on the new coaching team.
One thing that may hinder Vieira is the lack of experience in the midfield area at the club. Toumani Diagouraga currently holds the baton, along with Luke Murphy for the experience in the middle of the park. “Dave” quickly became a crowd favourite at the club with his performances after signing from Brentford in January. Luke Murphy has shown spells of very good form since arriving and signed a new long-term deal last summer. Neither are vastly experienced, someone such as Liam Bridcutt may have helped Vieira along nicely, although that deal seems to be growing more unlikely with every passing day.
As of yet we don’t really know how good or what type of player we are looking at in Ronaldo Vieira. More performances like Saturday could well thrust him into the limelight amongst fans, we love youngsters in the first team and when some show promise we are quick to investigate. Can Vieira make a name for himself on the pitch at Leeds United, time will tell.
By Charlie Sopp