To those outside Leicester City, Luke Thomas’ name may not yet be a household one.
While the 19-year-old has made his way through the youth ranks in the East Midlands, he’s only played four league games for the Foxes, so is yet to truly emerge as a fixture in fans’ minds when thinking about Brendan Rodgers’ side.
However, thanks to his role in helping rip Leeds United apart last night, that could well begin to change. With that in mind, Give Me Sport will tell you all you need to know about him.
Who is he?
Luke Thomas was born in June 2001 and joined the Leicester City Development Squad at a young age.
Having entered the youth set-up back in 2008, the club’s official website note how he impressed on both the left-hand side of the defence and midfield on his journey up the footballing ladder.
Back in July, The Athletic wrote of how he initially played as a striker before an injury crisis in the youth team saw him revert to his now permanent left-back role, where he duly excelled.
Such was the extent of his form, he earned call-ups to England U18 and U19 levels while winning Leicester’s Academy Player Of The Year and was then fast-tracked into the first-team.
How far along is he in his development?
Obviously, being just 18, he’s got a lot to learn but The Athletic have also suggested he’s a year ahead of where the club expect him to be.
Indeed, he was reportedly initially thought to go on the same journey Harvey Barnes did in that he was loaned out before returning to the first-team, though the sale of Ben Chilwell and injuries elsewhere look to have halted that.
What sort of impact is he making?
As many Leicester fans will know, Thomas broke into the side at the back end of last season and assisted Ayoze Perez in a win over Sheffield United as the club secured qualification to the Europa League.
Impressively, that made him the youngest English player since Marcus Rashford to record an assist on his debut.
During last night’s thumping of Leeds United and his first start of the season, Thomas’ WhoScored statistics make for good reading, too. No one on the pitch made more tackles than him (4) or could match his seven clearances.
Former Leicester winger Matt Piper was so impressed, he gave Thomas his Man of the Match Award.
What does the future hold?
It’s certainly promising.
Back in October, the Lancashire Telegraph suggested Blackburn Rovers were keen on a loan move for the player but, considering how involved he is at the moment, perhaps staying at the King Power Stadium is best for his development.
After all, Rodgers does have a proven track record when developing young players and has previously spoken of his excitement about working with Thomas.
While returns from injury for the likes Timothy Castagne may see him drop out of the side, the fact this season’s schedule is so busy plus the added Europa League games should, in theory, see him given his chance.
England have also struggled to find left-sided players of late so perhaps a good run of form with Leicester could see Thomas at least make a play for inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s side later down the line.
Recently handed a long-term new deal at the club, the future looks bright for Luke Thomas.
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