Belfast Telegraph

Who is Alfie McCalmont? All you need to know about the Leeds teenager who this summer trained with Northern Ireland

Leeds United teenager Alfie McCalmont (third from right) listens to boss Michael O'Neill at Northern Ireland's training camp in Manchester.
Leeds United teenager Alfie McCalmont (third from right) listens to boss Michael O'Neill at Northern Ireland's training camp in Manchester.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Alfie McCalmont was the brand new name called up to join the Northern Ireland senior squad in May 2019, when pictures emerged of the team training in Manchester.

While plenty of familiar faces such as Liam Boyce, Paddy McNair, Josh Magennis, George Saville and Bailey Peacock-Farrell have been photographed working hard, there is also a notable unknown amongst the group.

That's turned out to be Leeds United's Alfie McCalmont. So what do we know about him?

Here's a quick guide to the newest man amongst the Northern Ireland senior panel:

Who is Alfie McCalmont?

Age: 19

Position: Centre midfield

Place of birth: Yorkshire, England

Club history: McCalmont is making his way through the ranks at Leeds United, having first joined the club when he was still studying at Sowerby's Thirsk School. In the 18/19 season he broke into the club's Under 23 side.

Senior debut: McCalmont finally made his senior bow for Leeds as a 70th minutes substitute in their 3-0 League Cup win over Salford City on August, 13, 2019.

He's a title winner already? Absolutely. After forging his way into Carlos Corberán's Under 23s,  McCalmont held his place to become a key cog in the team that won the Professional Development League North in the 18/19 campaign. So impressive were his performances that he put pen to paper on a new 2.5 year deal in January, keeping him at the club until 2021. He is still waiting for his senior debut.

International career: While his latest recognition from Michael O'Neill is reward for that eye-catching season for United, it's far from his first foray into the international game. He featured twice for the Under 17s back in September 2016, starting at Mourneview Park in a 2-1 win over San Marino just days after coming off the bench against Spain. McCalmont stepped up to the Under 19s for 2017 and 2018. A late winner for the U19s against Kazakhstan at Shamrock Park in November will have done his reputation no harm and it even led to an Under 21 call-up.

And that meant a very happy birthday? It sure did. McCalmont made his first start for Ian Baraclough's Under 21s on March 25th this year, his 19th birthday. It got even better when Shayne Lavery scored an 87th minute winner to beat Mexico Under 22s 2-1.

What sort of a player is he? He has been employed in both an attacking and holding midfield role for Leeds' Under 23s this season due to both his passing ability - dictating the play and providing an attacking spark - and his willingness to throw himself into a tackle. Seemingly a similar height to 5'8 Jordan Jones, he doesn't boast an imposing stature but the flipside of that is a low centre of gravity. He is viewed by some fans as one of the most exciting prospects to come through the Leeds system in recent seasons and has been likened to current Leeds star Jack Clarke, who is a rumoured £20m target for Tottenham Hotspur.

Can we see any of his talent? Absolutely. And what better to watch than this turn and smash to score against Millwall for Leeds U23s back in August:

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