He doesn’t look 16 though does he? we’ll have to take his word for it. Ryan Edmondson is the talk of Leeds United currently and he looks the part. It has been a long, long time since we had a striker this talented in the youth ranks, Alan Smith probably, but can he make an impact next season or do we take another route with him?
Ryan Edmondson bagged his first goal for the first-team in Myanmar yesterday and although it was a friendly it could be the moment that triggers his Leeds United career. The reason I say that is it came at the perfect time. we are heading for a pre-season that will make and break some senior players and it may also force the hand of Paul Heckingbottom in terms of promoting young players into the first team on a permanent basis. There are a few who I’m sure will be travelling with the first-team and they won’t see it as making up the numbers. Paudie O’Connor, Tom Pearce and Ryan Edmondson will be getting the chance and if we’re honest Pearce and Baily Peacock-Farrell won’t be needing to worry about dropping back down to the under 23’s, they will be looking to push for the starting XI next season.
Edmondson is a different situation to most young players coming through the ranks. Yes he’s a local lad, from Harrogate and he’s a Leeds fan but he has already experienced first-team football. He was on the books of York City when Leeds picked him up and decided he was worth spending money on and they probably didn’t realise just how good he was until he started banging in the goals for the under 18’s. The first-team experience has clearly helped, ask Queens Park Rangers, he flattened Furlong minutes into his debut off the bench and you don’t see that from youngsters just breaking through. Paudie O’Connor left a bit of Jonathan Kodjia at Villa Park and it will be no surprise to anyone that he also has first-team experience with Limerick in Ireland. These clubs aren’t playing at a great level but physically you have to be strong.
Edmondson is worth having around for me. He looks more threatening than Caleb Ekuban who has one league goal all season and Edmondson nearly matched that but for a deflection against Queens Park Rangers. He offers a physical presence and won his headers as soon as he took to the pitch but he shouldn’t be expected to make an impact in the next year, he needs time to learn and develop and that will come by getting games and watching an experienced striker in the first-team, something we quite simply don’t have. I would keep him with the first-team next season and play him with the under 23’s as well as in cups, playing him in games if we are looking comfortable with the ball.