By Craig Scott

9th Dec, 2021 | 3:40pm

Under-23s ace Max Dean could be the new Patrick Bamford at Leeds United

By Joe Ellis

Injuries to star striker Patrick Bamford have curtailed any momentum that Leeds had built during last year’s top half finish and they have struggled to replace the England international all season.

Rodrigo, Dan James, Tyler Roberts and Jack Harrison have all played games as the central striker but none have managed to hit the heights Bamford reached in 2020-21.

While dipping into the transfer market could supply the Whites with a short-term solution to their problems, there could be an attacker in the Leeds ranks already capable stepping up to the mark.

Max Dean – the next Bamford?

While Leeds’ Under-23s team may be struggling in Premier League 2 this season, currently second bottom in Group 1, one player has gone on to another level and is producing the goods on a regular basis.

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Seventeen-year-old Max Dean only signed his professional deal at Elland Road in March of this year but he already has a host of Under-23 appearances under his belt alongside his campaign with the Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup.

Leeds secured a 4-1 victory against Coventry in the Youth Cup on Tuesday to set up a tie with Arsenal and it was Dean who stole the show with a brace off the bench including a stunning left-footed strike into the top corner.

His second came from good strength and pace to get in behind the Sky Blues’ defence before slotting calmly past the goalkeeper to complete the scoring.

Under-23s manager Mark Jackson knows exactly what Dean is all about having managed the ‘fiery’ attacker in the EFL Trophy where the Ormskirk-born teenager scored his first goal against Salford City.

“You don’t have to prepare it with Deano.” Jackson said following the team’s 4-1 defeat to Tranmere in September, as quoted by LeedsLive. “Deano’s a fiery character, I don’t like to quash that in him. He’s got an edge to him and how he plays – and I like that in his personality.

“Yes he gets frustrated at times and we have to curtail it but his hunger to press and work hard and his hunger to score goals is really apparent.

“When he probably feels he doesn’t get those chances or have the balls he needs then he gets a little bit frustrated, but he knows he’s got to manage that.”

A fiery character is exactly what Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa are looking for to kick start the press and Dean’s finishing ability will no doubt be catching the eye of the Argentinian who has always been willing to give youth a chance.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites could tempt this English club into selling a defender in January.