Leeds student Jimmy Keinhorst has been tipped to become the first German international to play in Super League.
Keinhorst, 20, has been offered a part-time contract by Leeds Rhinos after impressing as a trialist in their under-20s side last year.
He is due to play in the centres in Sunday’s pre-season game at Co-op Championship outfit York City Knights and youth boss Barrie McDermott is keeping a close eye on his progress.
A utility-back, Keinhorst has also played rugby union for Otley and represented Germany in both codes and McDermott reckons he has the potential to break into Leeds’ first team.
“He was playing for Leeds Met University and our talent identifier Bob Pickles brought him to the club,” McDermott said.
“He played a few games for the under-20s at the back end of last year and we have given him a contract for this year.
“He is going to combine that with his studies at Leeds Met University and I think he has a chance of playing in the first team at some stage.
“He has the right attitude and a good work ethic, plus the ability to play the game and develop and learn.
“He has a good chance because he has got the desire.”
Keinhorst, whose father is German, is one of four brothers to play for that country.
He will be one of Rhinos’ three over-age players in the under-20s this year alongside forwards Danny Bravo and Matty Syron, who will also feature on Sunday.
McDermott said: “Matty is a shining example to every young part-time player who comes into our environment.
“He joined our 18s as a Great Britain Community Lions player. He struggled a bit in his first year, but he was one of our top-three most consistent players last season for the under-20s.
“Because of that consistency we have given him a chance to better himself. It’s up to him where that takes him.”
Bravo had a spell on dual registration with Oldham last season and is set to join a West Yorkshire lower division club on a similar basis this term.
“He was really good,” McDermott said. “The knowledge and experience he gained was very valuable and that has rubbed off on everyone else since he came back to us.
Rhinos back Jake Normington will continue at Keighley Cougars on dual-registration and forward Matty Nicholson is set for another dual-registration move but will not return to Dewsbury Rams after a spell there last year. Both are in the squad to face York.
Players from last year’s under-20s who have been released by Leeds include Aston Wilson, Jack Carvill and Callum Casey.
Casey has joined Halifax and Aston is trialling with Castleford Tigers.
Former rugby union scrum-half Rory Kettlewell, who joined Rhinos in the autumn of 2010, has been released from his contract and centre Michael Coady is expected to play with Doncaster this year after dropping out of full-time rugby to follow a teaching career.
Rhinos lower grade coaches Damian Gibson and Chris Plume have swapped roles from last season.
Gibson will be in charge of the junior academy this year with Plume coaching the under-20s.
Rhinos’ side to face York is: Watson, Agoro, Keinhorst, Normington, Chisholm, Ward, Casey, D Smith, Hood, Syron, Bravo, Stott, Singleton. Subs: Olds, Brown, R Smith, Roche, Morgan, Pring, Nicholson.