Leeds United youth manager Mark Jackson has heaped praise on striker Max Dean despite the under-21s’ 4-1 defeat in the EFL Trophy.

As the first team toil for their first win of the new Premier League season, all signs are looking promising for the youth setup at Elland Road.

After clinching promotion to the Premier League 2 Division 1 last season, their chance to impress continues under Mark Jackson on a few fronts.

The EFL Trophy kicked off last night for Leeds with yet another Merseyside encounter, this time against League Two Tranmere Rovers.

It was always going to be a tough outing with the Whites featuring a smattering of under-18s, including 15-year-old Archie Gray, son of Andy Gray.

A 4-1 defeat saw Leeds battle despite it quite literally being men against boys, but there were plenty of positives to take from the way Leeds approached such a challenge.

Speaking to Leeds Live after the game, Jackson commented on the attitude of exciting striker Max Dean in particular.

He had this to say:

You don’t have to prepare it with Deano. Deano’s a fiery character, I don’t like to quash that in him. He’s got an edge to him and how he plays – and I like that in his personality.

Yes he gets frustrated at times and we have to curtail it but his hunger to press and work hard and his hunger to score goals is really apparent.

When he probably feels he doesn’t get those chances or have the balls he needs then he gets a a little bit frustrated, but he knows he’s got to manage that.

Overall I was pleased with how he played, how he pressed and I’m not too worried about him getting frustrated.

Listen, I like his character – I always have done since we signed him from Everton and I think it can only get better.”

It’s clear to see every time he plays that Dean is one of the fiery members of the side, regardless of who he comes up against.

He’s come to blows with players from the PL2 and even Jong Ajax’s goalkeeper in pre-season, but it shows a very hungry player.

He’s one I’m very looking forward to seeing develop in the coming season, because his goal threat and work ethic making him a great talent for the future, especially with our mentality under Marcelo Bielsa.

A senior debut might be far off at the moment, but at 17-years-old, he’s certainly one to watch as he makes himself a permanent fixture in the under-23s.