Leeds United working on new deal for out-of-contract Pearce

Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom says he has been "pleased" by the progression of 20-year-old full-back Tom Pearce and revealed that the club plan to offer the defender a new deal with his current contract up this summer.

Leeds United defender Tom Pearce.
Leeds United defender Tom Pearce.

Pearce followed up his first two senior appearances against Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa by notching his first Whites goal against Barnsley last weekend in a 2-1 victory at Elland Road.

The young full-back was released by Everton as a 16-year-old but was snapped up by Thorp Arch academy manager Neil Redfearn not long after. Pearce signed terms on a two-year contract with United triggering a clause last June that kept him in West Yorkshire for a further season.

It has been a rapid rise for the young man from Ormskirk but after impressing during his three Championship performances so far Heckingbottom has revealed that the Whites are working to offer him a new deal.

Leeds United defender Tom Pearce.

"Nothing to report on that. Other than obviously he'll be offered a new contract," Heckingbottom told his pre-Norwich press conference.

"I've been pleased with him. Against Sheffield Wednesday he played like it was his first game, but it was a great experience for him and it being at home in a Yorkshire derby to make his debut was a big game for him.

"He was thrown in again at [Aston] Villa away where it's different, putting myself back in his shoes, you're away from home and yeah, you're playing a massive team, but there's no pressure on him to go and perform. Just go out and do his best.

"He got feedback from his first performance where we wanted him to keep working, what he needs to do and the pleasing thing, or the bit I'm most pleased about with him, is that he is taking that on board which is a good sign.

Leeds United defender Tom Pearce.

"You speak a lot about mental qualities of people and all you really do is reel off words. Desire, resilience, determination and all this, but what does it look like? The big thing for me is he is someone who is coachable.

"Is the understanding good? And then have they got the drive to try and do it. Tom is showing that he has."

Asked whether Pearce is someone who can fill the left-back role longer term Heckingbottom replied: "That will be down to him."

"He's shown that if players haven't been performing they've had to come out and give young players a chance and then if players are performing they'll stay in the team. It's as simple as that.

"That'll be down to how he approaches the next couple of games. If he is involved in them and starts then how he prepares during the summer and comes back in pre-season."