'He's a little terrier' - Leeds United youngster impresses on full senior international debut

Leeds United youngster Alfie McCalmont impressed Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough with what he did in his first senior international start.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 10:24 am
FULL DEBUT - Leeds United midfielder Alfie McCalmont, left, got his full senior Northern Ireland debut on Sunday night in Estonia. The 21-year-old is on loan at Morecambe this season in League One. Pic: Getty

Two years to the day that the midfielder stepped off the bench for his Northern Ireland debut at Windsor Park against Luxembourg, McCalmont was handed a full debut away at Estonia in last night's 1-0 friendly win.

It came just days after a late substitute appearance in the World Cup Qualifying win over Lithuania and Baraclough saw positives in what the 21-year-old, out on loan at Morecambe for the season, did in and out of possession.

“He’s a little terrier, he loves breaking the play up and looks to just pass it simple,” said the Northern Ireland boss.

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“When he keeps it simple, he makes the game look very easy and he does very well and he’ll gain on that experience and I thought he was good tonight in that area."

Baraclough, who is without Leeds' 2020/21 Player of the Year Stuart Dallas due to personal reasons, made nine changes for the game in Estonia, resting key players ahead of a crucial World Cup Qualifier against Switzerland in Belfast on Wednesday night.

"It was a team made up of players that haven't played together really, some making their first international starts and some young players coming off the bench," he said.

"It was experience all round for everyone."

McCalmont, who came up through the Thorp Arch academy ranks at Leeds, spent last season on loan in League Two with Oldham Athletic, scoring 10 goals from the Latics midfield.

This summer Leeds reached an agreement with newly-promoted League One side Morecambe for a season-long loan deal. To date McCalmont has started three of the Shrimps' five league games and come off the bench in one. He also played 90 minutes in the EFL Cup second round defeat by Preston North End.