Leeds United’s official twitter kept a running account of the pre-season match against Yorkshire foes Harrogate Town. Many fans kept wondering who O’Connor was, as his name kept popping up in the tweets, doing good things.
For those asking, O'Connor is Paudie O'Connor - young Irish defender signed for the U23s from Limerick last season. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) July 5, 2017
Enter Paudie O’Connor. The 19-year-old centre-back has the biggest chance of his young career, as Thomas Christiansen has picked him to train with the first team across preseason.
Paudie O’Connor started playing football for hometown club Limerick and was a part of Super Blues first team since 2015. He played 23 times in the First Division last season, netting two goals. After his contract expired, the Irishman joined Leeds U23 three months ago following a successful trial. O’Connor was also being pursued by the likes of Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
It’s good to see a young player such as Paudie O’Connor getting his chance to shine in a preseason friendly, even if it is against Harrogate Town. And it’s even better to see him play well. As we noted before, Andrea Radrizzani values youth and the Academy, as sees bringing along young players to the senior team as important to the success of the club. Having a U-23 player show up and play well is a great way of validating the steps the club is taking and the kind of players that are being targeted by the club.
While all the attention has been paid, and rightly so, to the senior team during the summer transfer window, bringing in players such as Paudie O’Connor and Madger Gomes from Liverpool will help down the line. Many teams have attempted to buy their way to the Premier League, but a solid youth team foundation will do wonders to keep the team up instead of being tourists.