Former Leeds United youngster Robbie McDaid opens up over Whites stint

Former Leeds United player Robbie McDaid in action against Chelsea.
Former Leeds United player Robbie McDaid in action against Chelsea.
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Former Leeds United striker Robbie McDaid has opened up over his spell in West Yorkshire believing events off the field at Elland Road during his stint caused a clear "disadvantage" for his progression.

McDaid, who joined Leeds in 2014 from Irish League side Glenavon, was released by United in 2016 following a loan spell with Lincoln City and joined York City after four months out of the game.

The now 22-year-old made the switch back to Northern Ireland in 2017 with Glentoran after failing to find his feet in English football and has discussed his struggles in West Yorkshire after the makings of a positive move to the Whites.

"I was only 16 or 17 when I went over," McDaid told the Belfast Telgraph.

"Brian McDermott had signed me but he was sacked by the time I arrived in the summer. I felt I was at a disadvantage because I wondered would I be given a chance. I had five managers in two years and there was very little stability. At one stage there were 12 strikers at the club and the young lads weren't getting games.

"If Brian had stayed there I would have been given a better chance because he knew me.

"You can't have 'what ifs' in football, you deal with these things and move on. I went on loan to Lincoln City and I enjoyed my time there. I scored a few goals and wanted to play men's football.

"They were going to offer me a deal but an agent advised me against it. Looking back, I should have stayed at Lincoln because I went to York City and it was a disaster. I hated it. Managers and players came and went. The club was in freefall and once again it was wrong place, wrong time. It became clear that I needed to come home and play again."

Asked what have been the best and worst moments of his career so far, McDaid replied: "Signing the professional contract with Leeds United was a dream come true.

"My uncle Tom, who was a lifelong Leeds fan, had passed away a few years earlier. I would have loved for him to still be around to see me stand at Elland Road. My mum and brother flew over for a game against Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup. You think about the players who have graced that pitch and for me to be standing there was a lifelong ambition.

"I was close to Tom and his death hit the family hard. My hardest day was leaving to go to Leeds. That was horrible. I was praying I'd miss the flight and I cried the whole way over. It was just that realisation that you're on your own in a strange, big city without that safety net of your family. It was daunting."