Who is Tyler Roberts and what will he bring to Leeds United next season?
What will striker Tyler Roberts add to Leeds United's attack next season? Here, we profile the January deadline day signing who is yet to make his debut for the club.
Who is Tyler Roberts?
Tyler Roberts is a 19-year-old striker from Gloucester, England. He joined West Bromich Albion's academy aged 7 after being scouted at a football festival whilst playing for local team Tredworth Tigers.
Roberts then made the move to Birmingham at the beginning of secondary school to pursue his career in football alongside his studies and became a regular for Albion's under-18s side during his time at Sandwell Academy.
His story so far...
After featuring for West Brom at every academy level, Roberts signed his first professional contract at the Hawthorns just two days after his 17th birthday in January 2016. The youngster would go on to make his Albion debut on the the final day of the 2015-16 campaign coming on for the last 17 minutes of their 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
In July 2016 Roberts joined League One side Oxford United on a six-month loan deal where he made 14 appearances but failed to score in the league. He did though notch twice for the club in the EFL Trophy and FA Cup.
Following the end of his stint at the Kassam Stadium, Roberts joined fellow League One side Shrewsbury Town for the remainder of the campaign where he enjoyed a slightly more successful spell scoring four times in 13 appearances before a hamstring ended his season prematurely in late April.
In August 2017 he was shipped out on loan once again. This time it was another League One side in Wallsall who secured his services, Roberts scored and grabbed an assist just a day after sealing his switch in late August where he helped the Saddlers fight back from 3-0 down to secure a 3-3 draw against Bradford City.
After scoring five times in 17 appearances for Wallsall, including a memorable winner against Fleetwood Town which would be his last for the club, he was recalled by Albion boss Alan Pardew in a bid to give him a taste of first team action and persuade him to sign a new deal at the club with his existing contract up in the summer.
The former Albion manager said of his recall: "I’m bringing him back because I think he’ll be important to the team."
"There is some interest from other clubs and I’m very keen to keep him here. We’re in discussions with his agent and the player to secure that.
"I don’t know about (losing him), but it would be in the hands of a tribunal. Sometimes those tribunals can make that very painful."
Deadline day move to Leeds United
On January transfer deadline day in 2018 the Whites secured a Â£2.5m deal to bring Roberts to Elland Road, which could possibly rise to Â£4m, with West Brom conceding defeat in their attempts to keep the striker.
Roberts described the move as the "perfect opportunity" and told the YEP: “There’s no problems with me back at West Brom. There was just the situation of me wanting to go and play. When a big club like Leeds comes in for you it seems like the perfect opportunity to go and do that.
“Everyone hears things about what’s going on but I was just training there, pushing to get into the team. Then I start to know that Leeds was more of a serious note so I was prepared for anything.
“It’s gone into talks with West Brom and my agent and it became more set in stone that it could happen. If you get asked to come here, it’s a massive honour. Any player would.”
West Brom failed to hide their disappointment at losing one of their most talented young players with technical director Nick Hammond saying: "We certainly didn’t want to lose one of our bright Academy prospects but Tyler and his representatives made it very clear he wanted to join Leeds.
"We have been actively trying to agree a new contract with him for a period of time but have been unable to do so.
“He is a fantastic young man who feels that for his future he wants to make a permanent move now and start playing regularly. Leeds United made us an exceptionally good offer and importantly we have also secured excellent protection further down the line if Tyler reaches his undoubted potential.”
Which country does Tyler Roberts represent?
Despite being born in in Gloucester and selected for England as a schoolboy, Roberts opted to represent Wales at international level qualifying through his Grandparents.
He captained Wales under-16s to Victory Shield glory in 2015 where he scored in the final and was also called up to the senior side earlier in the year where he trained with the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Roberts currently represents Wales at under-21 level.
Why hasn't he played for the Whites yet?
Roberts is yet to feature for Leeds since joining having cracked a bone in his shin in training after recovering from an initial separate knock that the forward was carrying when he arrived at Thorp Arch.
United were initially hopeful he would feature before the end of the season but Roberts failed to recover in time and will make his first Whites appearance next campaign.
Heckingbottom said: "The medical team are really happy with him and how he has progressed. Not only with his injury and his rehab but his general condition and fitness. He's worked really hard."
What could he bring to Leeds United next season?
Current United boss Paul Heckingbottom believes Roberts is a player who possesses "good natural qualities" but admitted in March that he is still someone who must continue to develop his attributes.
"He's sharp," said the United boss of his ability.
"He likes to play in the final third. He can create because of his sharpness and he's got ability on the ball. He's changed a lot and he's someone who I actually have seen for a couple of years now.
"He's been really highly rated throughout his younger years, been out on loan in the Football League and desperate to do well. He was always coming to the ball a lot, his last loan move [at Wallsall] worked a lot on him running behind and it's something I've spoken to him about. It was only when he felt the benefits of that in first team football that he reaped the rewards for it.
"He's a player who still has a hell of a lot to learn and he's got some real good natural qualities."