Leeds United new boy compared to Andres Iniesta by private coach as teen's versatility highlighted
Leeds United announced the signing of 18-year-old Sonny Perkins on a three-year contract earlier this summer
Leeds United secured their seventh and most recent summer signing earlier this month, announcing the arrival of teenager Sonny Perkins.
Perkins is expected to integrate with the Under-21 setup initially, but fleeting first-team experience at the London Stadium last season indicates he could see first-team involvement before the 2022/23 campaign is out.
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An England Under-18 international, Perkins arrives a highly-rated, versatile player capable of playing in a variety of positions across the frontline and in midfield.
During the team’s pre-season tour of Australia, head coach Jesse Marsch said he was looking forward to getting to know Perkins better, on the squad’s return to Thorp Arch.
Speaking to the YEP, Harry Brooks – a coach of Perkins’ – described the 18-year-old in glowing terms.
"A player like Sonny, they come around every so often, not that often. And they're usually the ones to break into first team football earlier on, than the others. He's got the mentality and the qualities to cope with that.
"The first time I worked with Sonny, it was a few years ago, me and my colleague done a group session for top, young talents.
"And there was some incredible talent there, players from Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Tottenham, top clubs, and after a couple minutes, me and my colleague were like, ‘wow, this is a real footballer’.
"He's just a very natural player that is so comfortable on the ball. If he plays in my team, I want him to get as many touches of the ball as I can.”
Perkins primarily played as a centre-forward for West Ham’s successful Under-23 side last season, scoring double figures in PL2 Division 1.
But, Brooks says Perkins’ finishing and all-round play as a centre-forward only scratches the surface.
"I don't like comparing players but his style is like an Iniesta with size and power, and the ability to drive and gallop.”
Brooks stresses Perkins is much taller in stature than the diminutive Spaniard and was merely describing the player’s technical quality amongst his peers.
"He's got incredible feet. Really smooth, he's creative, as a ball striker, he's probably the best ball striker I've ever worked with. Happy off both feet and a real natural footballer where you want him to get on the ball as often as he can,” he said.
Perkins will compete alongside the likes of Amari Miller, Sean McGurk, Mateo Joseph and Max Dean for a place in Leeds Under-21s’ attacking line-up, and his former coach believes the ex-Hammers youngster might be best suited to a No. 10 role.
"He's not a silly kid,” Brooks said. “He knows that it might not be immediate. He knows he has to work hard and prove himself as is standard, but he backs himself to go and make an impression and get into that team.
"As a character he's fantastic. He's got magic, intelligence, football ability – not many players have magic nowadays, he certainly does. And yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing the season he's gonna have.”