July 19, 2024

Reuben Lopata-White has signed his first professional contract as a Leeds United player after impressing across the age groups in the club’s academy.

The 18-year-old defender penned his maiden deal until 2027 on 9 July having played regularly for both the club’s Under-18 and Under-21 sides across the 2023/24 season, making his debut for the latter.

Lopata-White also played every single minute from the fifth round to the final as the Peacocks’ under-18’s finished as runners-up to Manchester City in May’s FA Youth Cup decider.

With Charlie Cresswell having being sold and Diego Llorente set to follow suit, Lopata-White’s path to the first team could soon become much clearer [Graham Smyth, 8 July].

Academy signing continues refresh of Leeds centre-back stocks

Few areas of the Whites’ squad will look undergo more of an overhaul than the central defensive department this summer, with seemingly only a few players staying put from last season’s side.

One addition in this position has already arrived in the form of Tottenham’s Joe Rodon, who made his loan move permanent after Archie Gray’s £40million transfer was completed the other way [Graham Smyth, 1 July].

Furthermore, alongside loanees Robin Koch and Llorente heading out the door, long-term captain Liam Cooper is also expected to depart following the expiry of his contract [LeedsLive, 2 July].

Cresswell’s recent departure to Toulouse could be somewhat ominous for Lopata-White, with the 21-year-old academy graduate leaving Elland Road following a lack of opportunities in the first team [BBC Sport, 8 July].

However, it leaves just Rodon, fellow youngsters Diogo Monteiro, Kris Moore and James Debayo ahead of Lopata-White in the pecking order, and he’ll be looking to move up that ladder as quickly as he can.

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