Leeds United: Heckingbottom keen to see forward Ekuban kick on

Leeds United striker Caleb Ekuban in action during the Whites pre-season tour.
Leeds United striker Caleb Ekuban in action during the Whites pre-season tour.
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Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom is keen to see Caleb Ekuban "keep improving" after handing the striker a rare start at Reading last Saturday.

The 23-year-old has seen his first season in West Yorkshire hindered by injuries. The Italian broke a bone in his foot during United's 2-0 win over Sunderland last August that ruled him out for several months before fracturing a bone in his foot again in early December.

Ekuban though, who was handed his first start under Heckingbottom at the Madejski Stadium last week, may well be given another chance to prove himself this weekend as the Whites welcome Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield Wednesday to Elland Road.

The youngster has only notched once in a White shirt thus far with that goal coming in the League Cup against Port Vale.

Heckingbottom, who was speaking ahead of Saturday's derby fixture, has now revealed that he is keen to see him kick on after battling back to full fitness and thrusting himself into the fold at Thorp Arch once again.

“He's still learning his trade but he has good attributes,” said Heckingbottom.

“He's got big areas to improve but he knows and understands that. One thing Caleb does is work hard and he's infectious, he enjoys what he does, he trains that way and plays that way.

“We just felt it was right to give him his start [at Reading] because he deserved it. He performed well enough but there's still areas where we know we can keep working with him and hopefully he can keep improving.”

The Whites manager was also quizzed over the future of Pierre-Michel Lasogga and the former Barnsley man revealed he was open to bringing the German to West Yorkshire on a permanent basis.

But, like everyone else in the United squad, only if he proves his worth from now until the end of the current campaign.

“That's what everyone is playing for,” added Heckingbottom.

“We want as strong as possible squad in all areas. In terms of what we can afford, in terms of the ability of the player, the understanding and the mentality.

"That's why I think it's a good situation to be in to make it clear that everyone is fighting for that.

“If that desire and real intent to be a part of what we want here is shown by the player then we've automatically improved that."

Paul Heckingbottom.

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