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Season Grade: Tom Pearce

Young defender made a breakthrough to the first team this past season

Aston Villa v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Expectations

Almost none. Tom Pearce wasn’t on the radar for the first team this past season. He was a U23 player that most Leeds United fans would have had trouble naming before the season began. He was highly rated as a prospect, but without any senior appearances to his name, it was a stretch to say that one would see him making an appearance at left back at all this season. Even with the departure of Charlie Taylor to Burnley, the route to the first team wasn’t clear at all for Pearce.

Performance

Pretty good for a youth player. He made his Leeds debut against Sheffield Wednesday and scoring a cracking goal against Barnsley FC. In total, Pearce appeared five times for Leeds this past season, starting each of the games at left back and going the full 90 minutes three times. He impressed enough that he was also called up to the England U21s for the Toulon Tournament in France this summer.

Pearce, while not as polished as what Leeds fans have been used to out of a left-back, was still an upgrade to what Leeds had used at the position previously. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was a disaster, Laurens De Bock left his ability in Belgium, and Vurnon Anita was exposed time after time. And while Gaetano Berardi did a decent job holding down the position, his attacking ability left much to be desired. Pearce may not be the finished product, but he’s did better than almost anyone else at left-back all season.


Final Season Grade: A

Pearce was a beacon of hope for Leeds fans at the end of the season. The young left back was one of the youth players that broke through at the end of the season and helped ease the sting of an season that went sideways in the second half.