Stuart McKinstry is yet to break into the Leeds United first-team but the 17-year-old midfielder cannot be too far away.

Leeds signed McKinstry from Motherwell last summer after agreeing a £400,000 fee with the Scottish Premiership club and he has impressed for both the Under-18s and Under-23s since.

McKinstry could also be impressing first-team manager Marcelo Bielsa, with The Athletic’s Phil Hay tipping the teenage sensation to shine at Elland Road in the near future.

Writing on The Athletic website earlier this month, the former Yorkshire Evening Post journalist said: “The next one to look out for might be Stuart McKinstry, the teenage winger who Leeds signed from Motherwell.

“He’s creeping up the rails and has been more and more involved in first-team training and murderball sessions. He’s only 17 but is ringing Bielsa’s bell, so to speak.”

Bielsa has often called young players up to play in his first-team while in charge at Leeds with the likes of Pascal Struijk, Oliver Casey, Jordan Stevens and Jamie Shackleton used at times this season.

Once football is back on, those youngsters – plus McKinstry – are to be handed a bigger chance to get more first-team minutes with the FA making a temporary rule that says clubs can make five substitutions in a match once the 2019/20 season resumes.

We have already seen in Germany that clubs have used the increased number of substitutes to ensure their squad remains rotated and fresh for what is bound to be an intense few weeks of trying to finish off the season.

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Leeds have nine matches left to play of their Championship campaign and Bielsa has one of the smallest senior squads in the division.

It means that he is likely to take advantage of the new five-substitute rule and that may allow someone like McKinstry to earn his first-team debut.

McKinstry can play out on the right-wing or as a central midfielder and both of those positions are ones where Leeds could do with a bit of extra strength in depth.

With the Scottish youngster set to make an impression on Bielsa, we can bet that he will at least earn a spot on Bielsa’s bench for one of the remaining games and if promotion is wrapped up with games to spare, we could see McKinstry make a senior debut.

In other Leeds United news, plans to “dramatically” upgrade Elland Road have been revealed.


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