By Joe Ellis

2nd Nov, 2022 | 2:10pm

Leeds United starlet Archie Gray set Christmas target for injury return

Archie Gray has been out of action for some time for Leeds United but Michael Skubala has set the teenager a goal for his return.

The 16-year-old has not featured for the senior team yet despite playing in the pre-season tour of Australia where John McGinn of Aston Villa caused harm to him in a feisty affair.

Skubala, the Under-21s manager, spoke to the media after bowing out of the Papa John’s Trophy due to a penalty shootout loss to Crewe Alexandra about Gray’s progress towards being fit again.

“[He’s] not too far. I think not too far,” Skubala said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “You know he’s a young lad, so we’ve just got to get that right, he won’t be too far [off].

“I don’t think he’ll make the last game but then he’s got the [World Cup] window to really get back into things and hit the ground running after Christmas.”

Exciting

As far as wonderkids go at Thorp Arch, there is possibly no bigger talent than Gray and his ceiling is almost unlimited if he keeps on the trajectory he’s been on so far.

He played Under-23s games last season as a 15-year-old and didn’t look at all out of place against much more experienced players from a variety of Premier League sides.

His return to fitness and match sharpness will be a huge boost for Skubala’s team and would allow the 32-year-old Mateusz Klich to actually play senior football rather than with a group of inexperienced kids.

Jesse Marsch would probably love to have Gray available as an option too further into the season as Tyler Adams and Marc Roca perhaps get tired due to the large volume of games scheduled for a short amount of time post-World Cup.

Gray’s return would be the perfect Christmas present for Marsch, Skubala and Leeds United although expectations have to be monitored with his career still very much in its infancy.

In other Leeds United news, this journalist has claimed that the hierarchy at Elland Road have made their decision regarding Marsch’s future with the club.