The atmosphere at Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training ground was a welcoming one, says midfielder Darko Gyabi, as he reflects on his arrival in Yorkshire from Manchester City.
Signed for £5m in the summer – a not insignificant fee for a young prospect – Gyabi was brought to Elland Road to provide long-term cover for Kalvin Phillips’ central defensive midfield position upon the Englishman’s departure to last season’s Premier League champions.
A player of considerable quality, the youngster caught the eye last season in a match which saw the City Under-21s clinch the Premier League 2 title at Elland Road.
Gyabi has since made his first team debut for the Whites in a narrow EFL Cup defeat to Wolves in November in which he struck a solid and combative figure in midfield.
Like most young prospects currently between the senior and youth squads at Leeds, the 18-year-old spends a lot of time learning the tools of the trade from the more experienced players above him.
Among these are new signings Marc Roca and Tyler Adams, and a member of the Leeds United old guard in Mateusz Klich.
Speaking to LeedsLive, Gyabi reflected on the importance of these players in helping him develop his playing style:
“Not just Tyler, but Marc, Klichy, all the midfielders.
“Learning, just learning the little details like where their positioning is when we don’t have the ball and when we do have the ball the spaces they’re picking up to receive.
“Like checking their shoulders, scanning, trying to receive and turn and play forwards. That stuff and trying to take it all in.”
The young star also detailed the warm reception he received upon his arrival at Thorp Arch:
“So crazy it was so welcoming.
“When I first came I wasn’t really expecting it because they’re all first-team established, but they were so welcoming showing me around the training ground.”
Great to see
Young players speaking in this way is encouraging, as it creates a strong impression that there is a real sense of togetherness running throughout the entire side.
With Gyabi being brought in during the summer for a considerable fee – considering his age – it is clear that the club sees him as a promising prospect for the future.
His strong performances for the Under-21s so far this season appear to support such a sentiment.
News such as this also highlights the importance of squad players such as Klich, whose vast experience playing for the Whites will surely develop not only Gyabi’s playing ability but also his mentality as he learns what it means to ‘be Leeds’.