Leeds have a special talent in Perkins
Leeds United – and Victor Orta in particular – have made a habit of targeting and subsequently signing some of the most exciting young talent English football has to offer in recent seasons, with the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood, lewis bate and Darko Gyabi having all arrived at Elland Road within the past two years.
However, while all four of those aforementioned starlets have all gone on to feature in at least one of the Whites’ Premier League matchday squads under manager Jesse Marsch, there is one recent young signing who has yet to be thrown. a look at senior. level, although he is arguably one of the club’s most exciting prospects at the moment.
Indeed, having arrived at Thorp Arch from West Ham United on a free transfer Sonny Perkins made an immediate impact in Michael Skubala’s U21 side this summer, after scoring five goals in four Premier League 2 appearances so far this season – returns that put him among the PL2s co-top scorer alongside fellow Leeds striker Mateo Joseph.
The 18-year-old’s clinical nature in the final third has already seen him receive plenty of praise, with Skubala indicating of the striker after his brace in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa last month:
“He’s a goalscoring machine, he loves to score goals. He’s been working on other parts of his game that he still needs to improve, but Sonny hasn’t had the best pre-season so he’s slowly becoming more strong and faster, but two great finishes and that’s what Sonny wants to do.
Harry Brooks – the England U18 international’s private coach – praised Perkins on another level in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post in July, going so far as to compare the teenager’s ability on the ball to that of Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.
Would you like to see Perkins try his luck in the first team?
Brooks said: “A player like Sonny, they come once in a while – not that often. And they are usually the ones who get into first-team football earlier than others. He has the mentality and the qualities to face it.
“The first time I worked with Sonny was a few years ago, my colleague and I did a group session for the best young talents. And there was incredible talent there, players from Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur – top clubs. And, after a few minutes, my colleague and I were like “wow, he’s a real footballer”.
“I don’t like to compare players but his style is like an Iniesta with size and power, and the ability to drive and gallop. He’s got amazing feet. Really smooth, he’s creative. As a ball striker, he’s probably the best ball striker I’ve ever worked with. Happy with both feet and a real natural footballer where you want him to get on the ball as often as he can.
“As a character he’s fantastic. He’s got magic, intelligence and footballing ability – not many players have magic these days, but he sure does. I can’t wait to see the season he’s going to have.
As such, while Perkins certainly has a long way to go before he can be honestly compared to the Spaniard who has scored 57 goals, registered 138 assists and won every possible club trophy on his 674 appearances for Barca, given the 18-year-old’s returns to U21 football so far, Brooks’ assessment of the striker doesn’t seem too far off the mark at the moment.
Indeed, if the former West Ham starlet can continue his early form for the youth team after being let loose by Marsch in the senior side – something, it seems, is likely in the very near future. – the 48-year-old could well unearth an Iniesta-esque talent at Elland Road, a prospect that is sure to excite everyone involved with the Whites.