Leeds United: Who are Paudie O'Connor and Callum Nicell?

Thorp Arch.
Thorp Arch.
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Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom named Paudie O'Connor in his starting XI and youngster Callum Nicell on the bench for Saturday's Championship clash at Elland Road against Sunderland - but who are they?

Here's everything you need to know...

Paudie O'Connor

Position: Defender

Age: 20

What you need to know...

Paudie O'Connor is a 20-year-old Irish central defender who signed for Leeds United in the summer of 2017 from League of Ireland side Limerick. He has captained Carlos Corberan's under-23's side this season and has earned rave reviews from those who watch him on a weekly basis at Thorp Arch.

Paul Heckingbottom said the Whites had been preparing the youngster for his eventual debut: "We've had Paudie with us all week because we're light in that position. If he is needed we want him to be as comfortable as possible and understand what we want from him. All the players understand his role and it gives him the best possible chance to succeed."

Pontus Jansson also revealed he has been impressed by the Irishman: "I've seen him in a couple of training [sessions] and I've seen him also in an under-23 game."

"He is good, he has confidence. He looks like me when I was young wanting to take risks with the ball which is good. He is clever, strong and fast. He can be a good defender and if I play with him I will take my responsibility and help him and try to have a good game."

Callum Nicell

Position: Midfielder

Age: 18

What you need to know...

Callum Nicell is an 18-year-old midfielder originally from Doncaster but has been with Leeds United at Thorp Arch throughout his playing career. The youngster has represented Republic of Ireland U18's three times and was called up to the under-19's during March's international break. He was named the 2016/17 Academy Player of the Year.

Adam Underwood recently confirmed that Nicell will make the step up to United under-23's next season after impressing in Mark Jackson's under-18's side and revealed he had benefitted from playing alongside Barcelona youth product Oriol Rey in since his arrival last summer: "We’ve got Oriel, who’s 19 years old. He’s come up through Barcelona’s academy.

"He’s got lots of great qualities and he’s quite English in the way he plays but he has that technical class which comes from being in an academy like Barcelona’s.

“He’s playing next to Callum Nicell from Doncaster, a lad who’s been with us all his playing career. We’re giving Callum the opportunity to play with someone like Oriel in the centre of midfield. What a tremendous platform that is to develop from. "