Stuart McKinstry on working with Marcelo Bielsa, moving to Leeds United and a role in promotion

The Whites winger has been discussing his time at the club so far.
Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. (Credit: Leeds United)Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. (Credit: Leeds United)
Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. (Credit: Leeds United)

Stuart McKinstry has admitted that he has to pinch himself every now and again as a reminder that he is working with world-renowned head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

The 18-year-old, who penned a fresh three-year deal at Elland Road in August, joined the club in 2019.

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McKinstry made the move south of the border from Scottish outfit and boyhood club Motherwell before penning professional terms with the Whites.

The winger initially linked up with the Under-18s at Thorp Arch before swiftly impressing and earning a place in the Under-23s squad.

He has become a development regular under Jackson's watchful eye and continues to impress on a regular basis.

"Sometimes you have to pinch yourself that you are working with someone as famous in the game as the manager is," McKinstry told the Motherwell website.

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“He’s achieved so much and it’s something I never thought I’d be able to do especially at this young age.

“Hearing stories from famous players and managers about Marcelo and now being able to say that I have experienced what they have is something I can never take for granted.

"It’s an honour to train under such a well-known manager."

Asked about promotion from the Championship last term, he said: “I spent last season around the first team players as they tried to get promoted and there was a real buzz about the place as we won games.

“I know a lot of the young boys didn’t play, but things like helping out in training because a player had picked up an injury or taking part in extra sessions helps make you feel part of the set up and drives you to try and achieve similar feats to what the players in the first team have.”

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The Scotland youth international has made a serious impression since making the switch to West Yorkshire and his future looks bright, but he did concede it was a tough career choice to leave home.

“I’m really enjoying it," he admitted, "having the chance to train with the first team almost every day and the club being in the Premier League.

“It’s a great opportunity and hopefully that can continue. When I heard about the interest, I wanted it so badly. But I’m quite a home person and a Motherwell fan, so to make the decision to leave was the hardest of my life.

“I couldn’t make it off the top of my head. I had to look at it in detail and work out the rights and the wrongs of the situation.

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“In the end, I felt I had to move. I knew how big a club Leeds are and felt I could only go there and get better. It was the challenge I wanted and although leaving Motherwell wasn’t something that I wanted to do, it was too big an opportunity to turn down.

“Right now, that’s paying off. I’m playing every game for the 23s and after a lot of ups and downs during my first 12 months, I have found myself in a much better position than I was in this time last year.”