Leeds United: '˜wonder kid', trained with Bale and debut at 17 - facts about Tyler Roberts
AS Leeds United's transfer deadline day signing Tyler Roberts settles into life with the Whites, the YEP looks at seven facts about the new Â£2.5m acquisition.
Gareth Bale and Wales
Roberts may have been born in Gloucester but the teenager has been a mainstay in the Welsh youth set up for several years, qualifying to represent Wales through his grandparents.
Impressive performances for the under-20s and under-21s saw Roberts invited to train with Chris Coleman’s first team in 2015 and again in 2016.
Roberts shared a training pitch with Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and described him as the best player he’s shared a pitch with.
The five-foot-eleven striker is still awaiting his first full Wales cap but the forward was named as a stand-by player for Wales’ World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in March last year.
In 2015 he also captained Wales under-16s to glory in the Victory Shield, scoring in the final against Northern Ireland.
Twelve years at West Brom
Roberts is only 19 years old and the striker only celebrated his 19th birthday on January 19.
But the new Whites recruit had been at West Brom for 12 years with the forward having joined the club when he was seven years old.
He was scouted by the Baggies playing for junior club Tredworth Tigers at a Gloucester festival.
One of West Brom’s youngest ever players
Roberts made his Premier League debut for West Brom aged only 17, coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute in the final game of the 2016-17 season at home to Liverpool.
He was booked shortly after coming on after fouling Jordan Henderson.
The striker then joined League One side Oxford United on a six-month loan spell in July and further loan spells followed at fellow League One sides Shrewsbury Town and Walsall.
Roberts actually featured in the West Brom match day squad for the first time fully one season before making his debut with the then 16-year-old named on the bench for the 2014-15 season finale against Arsenal at the Emirates.
The striker stayed on the bench but the teenager was then named as one of ‘20 wonder-kids to look out for in 2016’ in the Match Of The Day magazine.
Eleven goals so far
Roberts netted twice in 22 appearances for Oxford and then scored four goals in 13 games for Shrewsbury.
Another five goals then arrived in 19 appearances during the following season’s loan spell at Walsall.
United have Liverpool to thank for their January recruit as the Reds’ decision to sanction Daniel Sturridge’s move to West Brom paved the way for Roberts to join Leeds.
“There’s no problems with me back at West Brom,” Roberts said.
“There was just the situation of me wanting to go and play. When a big club like Leeds comes in for you it seems like the perfect opportunity to go and do that.”
Highly thought of
Roberts might have only made the one appearance for the Baggies but the teenager was definitely very well regarded at The Hawthorns.
Following his switch to Leeds, West Brom’s technical director Nick Hammond told the Birmingham Mail: “We certainly didn’t want to lose one of our bright Academy prospects but Tyler and his representatives made it very clear he wanted to join Leeds.”