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leeds sign scott wootton from west pennine club

leeds sign scott wootton from west pennine club

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(Charlotte Robertson Photography/www.cr-photo.co.uk)

And at last, Brian McDermott has his fourth signing. He’s a risk, though, and not just because he only has 34 senior appearances to his name. It’s because of where he’s come from.

It is all too easy to make too much of Scott Wootton’s years with a certain club from Old Trafford who, if we must have their shirt in the photo on this page, I’d prefer not to have the name as well. So let’s do it. Some big players have crossed the Pennines from west to east before, from grim misery to the holy land – Johnny Giles and Gordon Strachan spring to mind. But Danny Pugh and Liam Miller also made the trip, while in Wootton’s position – centre half – the benefit has tended to go the other way, with Gordon McQueen and Rio Ferdinand choosing the darkness over the light. 

The short version is that when Leeds United managers go shopping, the Trafford area is not normally their first port of call, and so there is perhaps some doubt about whether our new man was McDermott’s first pick. Brian has spent most of the summer talking up his key signing, with either Matt Mills at Bolton or Gordon Greer at Brighton believed to be the men in the frame. Grizzly, experienced central defenders with leadership qualities, anyway, whatever their name and wherever they come from. 21 year old Scott Wootton from Salford B doesn’t appear to be that player.

Not much seems to be known about ‘Wooters’; or maybe I just don’t keep up with who plays in reserves for Them. He did play in the Champions League against FC Cluj, and against Newcastle in the League Cup: so much Wikipedia tells me. He also did the standard thing of helping his dad’s lad out with couple of loans at Peterborough, as well as more substantial spells at Tranmere and Nottingham Forest. But when you compare his 34 games to the 80-odd that Tom Lees had gone through at Accrington and Bury by the time he was Wootton’s age, you wonder who is going to be helping who at the centre of defence. 

Perhaps, despite the need to quickly improve the first team, he really is here as understudy. McDermott was saying last week that it was crazy to only have Lees and Jason Pearce available, and now they have some necessary backup – and some competition. And Wootton may only have a fistful of first team games, but I’m led to believe that the academy at the club he’s coming from has a decent track record of developing youth players. Development has been a key word at Leeds lately, too: chairman Salah Nooruddin has described Wootton tonight as a player, “Brian identified as one he was keen to sign, not just for what he brings now, but for the future as well,” and has been keen to emphasise the importance of young (i.e., free) players in previous interviews.

Developing Wootton was at the core of McDermott’s quote tonight too: “I’m delighted to have agreed the signing of Scott Wootton on a three-year deal. He’s a player who has played in the Champions League and someone we feel will develop with us in the coming years.” Slightly bizarrely he also said thank you to GFH-C for doing their jobs and signing a footballer – “I want to say thanks for the owners in doing the deal and bringing another young player to help us go forward” – if Brian had a forelock, I’d wonder why he was tugging it right now. Maybe after the summer he’s had trying to sign anyone, Brian’s just grateful to have added to the squad at all.

The Daily Mail have clearly lost their minds by estimating the predictably undisclosed fee at £1million; even with these Football Manager stats Leeds United aren’t paying out another million quid this summer. Plus, as ThePigeonPost pointed out on Twitter, he ain’t much of a singer:

Also on Twitter, LUFCDATA has turned up the stat that Wootie is the fourth ‘Scott’ to play for Leeds. Yes, the fact that we’re discussing his singing voice, computer game ratings and what Scott Wootton is worth as a Scrabble score reflect the fact we don’t know much about the guy. Undisclosed fee, three year contract, 21 years old, centre half. No previous owners worth knowing about. Welcome to the club. Please be good.

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