Leeds United and Robbie Gotts - two cogs a long time in the making of the Thorp Arch machine

Robbie Gotts has been at Leeds United so long that he could well be part of the furniture at Thorp Arch.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 8:09 am
Updated Friday, 22nd February 2019, 8:12 am
Leeds United's Robbie Gotts speaks to LUTV.

The 19-year-old has been on the Whites books since the tender age of seven and saw his loyalty and form rewarded at the weekend with a new three-year deal at what he describes as his second home.

His arrival at the club came around the same time as United were at their lowest ebb as they began life in League One with a 15-point deduction but out of the dark has come some light despite it being 12 years in the making.

Gotts has pinned down a spot as one of the first names on the team-sheet in his debut year in the Under-23s and taken to a new position like a duck to water.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds United's Leif Davis (L) and Robbie Gotts (R) at the club's foundation soccer school.

The hype around his potential has been quietly bubbling for some time but even he has been surprised at the front row seat given to him for Marcelo Bielsa's assault on the Championship this season.

"I wouldn't say I expected it," Gotts said of his break into the first-team set-up.

"It is a shock but I'm just grateful for the opportunity I've been given. I feel like I've come a long way as a player and a person this year. I like the way I've been brought into it all. I've been the 19th man quite a few times before actually being on the bench.

"I feel like that's really warmed me in. Now I want to make that next step with my debut."

Bielsa is known for his blooding of youth but even his insistence on using the academy has come as a surprise.

One glance at the development side, though, and it is clear for all to see that the continuity between both squads has been invaluable this season. Bielsa often makes players from his senior ranks who are in need of minutes available for Under-23s selection.

Gotts himself has been in fine form, scoring three goals so far. He's also added a layer of versatility to his game by moving forward from his natural position of right-back into midfield under the watchful eye of Carlos Corberan.

"He's helped a lot," Gotts said of the Spaniard's coaching. "He really tries to get the best out of you which is good as a coach. He's brought so much from the first-team to the Under-23s and that's really brought us on as a group too.

"I feel like the change of position has been good and I'm happy with the goals I've scored. It's going really well. I feel like playing there more and more has just helped me become used to the position.

"Obviously being taught by the coaching staff to get into certain areas and how to make the most of them has helped massively."

Gotts hasn't been alone in his promotion this season and admits an element of that has helped. Having the likes of Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton who he has grown up alongside provides a familiar feel in what can be a daunting environment for a young player looking to make his way in the game.

"Everyone has been welcoming," he said.

"But it's great having players like Jamie and Jack in and around the squad too. There's a lot of people we can look up to as well. Kalvin (Phillips) has been there and done it now so he's one of those."

Immediate thoughts are with helping the Under-23s capture the Professional Development League title but Gotts will have one eye on his senior bow with the Whites.

United have a four-point lead at the top of the northern section following a 2-0 victory over Bolton at Elland Road on Monday, sealed by a glorious chip from the academy product.

Belief, though, has been instilled and Gotts' gaze is firmly on the Under-23s prize: "I think we just need to keep doing what we've been doing. Hopefully if we do, the league title can follow."

Robbie Gotts was visiting one of the Leeds United Foundation Soccer Schools that are held during every half-term holiday at various locations across Leeds. They are available to children from 5-12 years old and delivered by FA-qualified coaches - the next lot of soccer schools will be available during the Easter half-term break and you can book online here.