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As a Leeds fan myself I have seen Byram play a lot last season and I saw something massively impressive in the young full-back and I firmly believe he has what it takes to play at the highest level as he is only 19 and has many years of progression and development to come.
Can’t see him being at Leeds for too much longer which saddens me!
Sam was born down in Essex however he moved up north when he was young and as secondary school came around he played in all of his school teams and as this was all going on Leeds United spotted him and signed him up. As his time at secondary school came to a close saw his career spark into life as he signed up as a scholar for the Yorkshire side in 2010. In his first year of being a scholar he actually played down a year in the under-16 team in order to progress his development as a footballer. As Sam kept on consistently playing terrific week after week he then progressed into the under-18 team where he went on to solidify his position in the team and make it his own.
In the 2011-2012 season saw United’s under-18’s finish runners up to Newcastle United in the divisional academy league where Sam was certainly a star player and a massive part of that team and it wasn’t just his defending and work rate that caught the eye as he also showed that he isn’t unknown to find the net as he scored several goals over the course of the season. The 2012 season had just come to a close in which Byram was about to get the life changing opportunity as Leeds United offered him his first professional contract for his outstanding efforts and performances in the youth setup.
Having kept a close eye on Sam throughout last season I saw that he has a lot of strengths and he has shown them against some of the top players. When you watch him you see him as a very attacking full-back however he has shown he is a more than capable defender as last season he kept quiet Matt Jarvis, Wilfried Zaha and even Gareth Bale in the cup which is not easy in the slightest.
However I feel he is more known for his outstanding work-rate down the right hand-side and his ability to get forward and really join in with the attacks which therefore helps the right winger out a lot as it gives him more options. The down side to his attacking presence however is that it does leave United open and outnumbered at the back. The style where both full-backs bomb forward heavily can go down really well for example the Brazil national team use Dani Alves and Marcelo excessively and most of the time they could be the highest players on the pitch. However that is Brazil and this is Leeds United……can you tell the difference?
Sam’s style is simply back and forth down the right wing providing an option for overlaps but also to not leave his defensive position in acres of space for the opposition to exploit.
The main weakness I saw of Byram last season was the inconsistency. Some may say that is unfair as it was his first full season playing nearly every single game however the game away to Barnsley (Leeds’ bogey team) saw not just him but a terrible team performance and got out played but Sam just got turned and twisted inside and out for the whole 90 minutes but then the week after he can keep someone like Gareth Bale quiet.
However Sam has come on leaps and bounds in these last few years and if he can keep kicking on at this pace then he is destined for success.
There has been many a strong rumour about several teams looking to snap Sam up but I feel he has more loyalty, or for at least a few more years where he can really be the star player in the Leeds side. Everton have been weakly linked towards him but the strongest rumour comes from the money flaunting Manchester City for £8m but I see Sam at Leeds for a few more years……I hope!