Leeds United: United youth international sets sights on first senior start

CONOR Shaughnessy has quickly set his sights on stepping out in front of a packed Elland Road after entertaining a rather smaller crowd gathered for Leeds United's under-23s.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th September 2016, 5:55 pm
Conor Shaughnessy
Conor Shaughnessy

The 20-year-old central midfielder was released by Reading earlier this summer but impressed in a recent successful trial period with the young Whites.

Shaughnessy, a Republic of Ireland international at youth level, then signed a one-year deal to join United’s Development Squad and was brought on as a second-half substitute during Friday night’s 1-1 draw for United’s under-23s against Crewe at Elland Road.

The match was watched by around 100 spectators and Shaughnessy faces stiff competition to earn a place in the first XI at a club chock full of midfielders. That, though, is not preventing the Irishman from being focused on forcing his way into head coach Garry Monk’s plans in the next few months.

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“I was delighted to get a chance to have a run out at Elland Road,” said Shaughnessy.

“It was a great feeling and I was happy to be on that pitch and playing in front of that crowd.

“It was a little bit small but hopefully I will play in front of a bigger crowd. That’s the aim.

“I have got to take it step by step and I just need to get my fitness up now with the under-23s and match fitness.

“Then hopefully I can catch the manager’s eye and get given a chance to train with the first team and go from there. I’ve not had that as of yet. I have just been training with the under-23s but hopefully I will get that in the not too distant future.”

Explaining his style of play, six-foot-two Shaughnessy added: “I’m a centre midfielder who can get forward and back.

“I prefer the no 8 role and I like to think I can score goals as well.

“It’s a huge year for me and hopefully that transition from youth/under-23 football to first team. I’m hoping I can push on now in the next few months.”

Shaughnessy played 31 minutes on Friday after coming on for Jack McKay.