Long-term local project
Leeds United are renowned for producing talented young footballers through their Academy, and Denton is unquestionably the latest example. The left-back might only be 20 years old but he already has 13 years under his belt at Leeds having joined the club aged seven. Denton - who was born in Dewsbury - fell in love with Leeds United after attending games as a youngster alongside his dad. The defender was schooled locally at Mirfield Free Grammar.
Denton’s 23rd-minute peach at Kenilworth Road was finished in the style of a young defender with a natural eye for goal. It is actually no major surprise then to learn that Denton’s agent is former Whites left-back and former Republic Of Ireland international Ian Harte, who scored 39 goals in 288 appearances for Leeds between 1996 and 2004.
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Denton looked blessed with the natural talent to grace a big stage, and the youngster is already capped for England Under-17s. The defender made one appearance for the side in 2011.
Whites head coach Garry Monk has already stated a few times his desire to have natural ‘leaders’ in his team in addition to the actual captain on the field. Denton is still a novice but already has experience of wearing the captain’s armband having led the Under-21s last term.
Denton is recognised as a left-back but the latest Whites protege can also play in midfield. That might be useful to his immediate prospects of playing first-team football given that he is behind Charlie Taylor in the pecking order.
It seems only a matter of time before Denton becomes a first-team regular for the Whites, and the defender can clearly hack playing long sequences of games. Denton played every game for the Under-21s last season, several of those as captain.
Denton’s name came to prominence in the public eye on Tuesday evening but his emergence is no surprise to his club, who tied him up on a new one-year contract this summer.
Denton was one of five existing professionals who were offered new deals by Leeds when the club published their retained list in May.
He said: “I felt as though I was pushing towards the first team but obviously Charlie’s a great player in that position. I’ve learnt a lot from him over the last few years. I work to be in the first team and put pressure on Charlie. If that chance comes, I feel like I would be ready.”
Denton signed scholarship terms with Leeds in 2012 but was playing for their reserves before then. The defender made his reserves debut as a 15-year-old against Hartlepool United.