Leeds United have taken the first steps towards the signing of highly-rated teenager star Jack Patterson by offering a trial to a player also being tracked by West Ham and Everton.
The Northern Irish youngster is setting tongues wagging after becoming Crusaders’ youngest player in their history. That milestone arrived in January this year when he stepped off the bench against Warrenpoint Town in the Danske Bank Premiership. Patterson was just 15 years and 78 days old at the time.
The midfielder is still just 15 years of age and was recently enrolled into the Club NI elite football programme. The scheme is part of the Irish Football Association’s attempt to steer their country’s brightest young talents towards elite level professional football.
Patterson has also made rapid strides for Crusaders. Having been brought in as part of their U16s set-up, he was soon promoted to their U18s, U20s and now their first team.
And having helped nurture his development, Stephen Baxter knows he has an exciting young talent on his hands.
“What a prospect the boy is,” said Baxter.
“We saw the talent that was recommended to us by our youth academy director and in the few games he played for the under-20 side, he was outstanding.
“We brought him into the first team and I thought he was an incredible player for his age. He’s in training with us and if he’s good enough, he’s old enough.
“He has the talent and he will certainly be someone we will be talking about in the future.”
His development though has not gone unnoticed. In January, it was reported that Everton were keen to take a closer look at him.
And over the weekend, the Belfast Telegraph reported that West Ham had called Patterson back for a second trial.
And should he impress, Leeds will look to move fast to tie the teenager down to a deal.
Leeds have Patterson connections
Leeds’ academy is one of the most revered in the country. Indeed, the Whites already have a strong connection with Patterson, having signed his Club NI teammate Charlie Allen from Linfield in July 2020.
Furthermore, one of Leeds’ star players also started his own football journey at Crusaders.
Stuart Dallas cut his teeth in the game at the Northern Irish side, playing 67 times and scoring eight goals between 2010-2012.
That earned Dallas a move to Brentford, before three years later he transfered to Leeds.
Dallas is a player capable of filling any position for Leeds. The ‘Cookstown Cafu’ was named Leeds’ Player of the Year last season as they finished ninth in the Premier League.
Dallas also recently committed to a new deal with Leeds. Indeed, Marcelo Bielsa admits the 30-year-old has surpassed his expectations at this level.