How did Tom Pearce fare on his Leeds United debut?

Tom Pearce made his Leeds United debut on Saturday afternoon against Sheffield Wednesday.
Tom Pearce made his Leeds United debut on Saturday afternoon against Sheffield Wednesday.
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Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom handed 19-year-old defender Tom Pearce his senior debut against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday - but how did he get on?

Whether Pearce is the long-term answer at left back for the Whites wasn't a question that was going to be answered on one snowy afternoon alone.

Perhaps though we would be given an insight into whether the youngster, who is highly rated within the academy at Thorp Arch, was really ready for first team action.

Pearce followed in the footsteps of Bailey Peacock-Farrell in being handed an opportunity by boss Heckingbottom on Saturday afternoon after Laurens De Bock was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Pearce, who many fans had been calling for long before being given his opportunity, saw his first involvement come just moments after the first whistle and was met with a loud roar from the watching south stand as he shepherded Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu out of play.

Such affinity with the terraces are born on days like this as the academy product from Ormskirk got to grips with life at Elland Road.

Yes, there were some heavy touches and misplaced passes which was understandable given the nature of the afternoon but he certainly didn't harm his chances of keeping his spot after the international break.

If anything he got better as the afternoon wore on.

Pearce's positioning looked solid as he sweeped up loose balls while helping break up some of Wednesday's neat little play in and around the area and there was an air of calmness about his presence, one thing that has been lacking in that position for Leeds in recent months.

There was to be one moment of magic.

The young defender kept his head as he took down the ball on the half way line and picked out an inch perfect pass to play Pablo Hernadez into the Wednesday box and the Spaniard really should have done better.

Similarities in his stature and style of play can be attributed to fellow academy graduate Sam Byram, although he plys his trade on the opposing flank, but if the Whites can get half as much out of Pearce then they're onto a winner.

Time, as they say, will tell but patience will be required after a steady start to life in the first team ranks.

Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani

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