By Joe Ellis

26th Aug, 2022 | 7:40am

Leeds United starlet Archie Gray on Manchester City radar - Phil Hay

Leeds United have promoted Archie Gray into the first team after an impressive 12 months at Thorp Arch, according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay.

The 16-year-old would have been involved in the 3-1 Carabao Cup victory over Yorkshire rivals Barnsley had it not been for a virus picked up earlier in the week which saw Jesse Marsch not risk him.

He has already been on the pre-season tour of Australia and featured on the bench for games but he has not yet made his senior debut as he continues to star for the Under-21 side.

His sudden rise to senior football, though, has attracted the eyes of Premier League champions Manchester City who Hay believes are among a host of top clubs watching the teenager closely.

Gray will turn 17 years of age in March and the Whites hope to have professional terms ready for him to sign on that day to prevent the Citizens, or anyone else, from poaching him for a bargain price.

At all costs

There might not have been a more promising or exciting talent to emerge from the Leeds United academy at Thorp Arch since Kalvin Phillips and Victor Orta must do everything he can to keep him at the club.

Gray’s dad, Andy, was a former Leeds player himself and will know how good the club are at nurturing their own talent which should be something that he is passing on to his son.

Marsch may even have to give the 16-year-old some actual game time in the senior side soon if the interest keeps on growing but he will know that there is no better place to play first-team football than Elland Road.

Phillips, who himself joined Pep Guardiola’s side this summer, should be held as a shining example of what kind of career Gray could have if he chooses to stay in Yorkshire and sign the professional deal in March.

In other Leeds United news, the search for a new left-back may have been knocked down a peg on the emergency scale with positive injury news from Marsch.