Nigel Clough has predicted Louis Reed can become a Premier League footballer after Sheffield United’s teenage midfielder signed a new long term contract at Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
But Clough, whose side host Mansfield Town in the Capital One Cup tonight, acknowledged United must regain Championship status to prevent their best academy graduates eventually being lured away by rival clubs.
“If Louis keeps on improving and keeps on listening then he can make the grade at a higher level,” Clough told The Star. “Possibly even the highest but hopefully he can do all of that with us because we’ve seen enough move on.
“We’ve been really impressed by Louis and if we could have given him a longer deal then we would have done but, under FA rules, three years is the maximum permitted for someone of his age.
“We always had him down as a good player for the future and he thoroughly deserves to be in the team. The great thing about Louis is that he looks so mature for his age. (Assistant manager) Gary Crosby says he’s unflustered and that’s exactly right because you normally only see that in much older players.”
Reed, aged 17, became the youngest person to represent United at league level when he appeared as a substitute during their 1-0 victory over Rotherham earlier this year. Now under contract under 2017, Reed made his full debut against Bristol City last weekend.
With Connor Dimaio, Otis Khan and Diego De Girolamo also expected to challenge for first team places this season, Clough added: “The academy here has being doing a brilliant job for a number of years now and the amount of talent that’s come through the ranks here is testament to that.”