Harrogate Town’s Leeds United loanee Liam Kitching must be doing something right.
The 18-year-old defender hasn’t missed a game for his hometown club since re-joining them for a second loan spell this summer, while his performances in yellow and black have been of sufficient quality to tempt Marcelo Bielsa for a closer look.
The Whites’ head coach was in attendance at the CNG Stadium for Tuesday’s National League clash with Barrow specifically to cast his eye over Kitching, who has grown into an unfamiliar role at left-back with each passing game this term.
“The gaffer pulled me just before the game and told me that he’d received an email from Leeds about Marcelo Bielsa coming to have a look at me,”Kitching said.
“I felt a bit nervous when I found out, but I was also really excited.
“He [Simon Weaver] told me just to keep doing what I’ve been doing and not to think about the fact that anyone was there to watch me.
“I tried not to let it affect me, but to be honest it made me really want to go out there and really impress.
“That’s not to say that I’m not always trying my best in every game for Harrogate Town, but this was an extra incentive.
“I was really shocked that he came. Leeds often send someone to see how I’m getting on at home games, but for the head coach to turn up himself is brilliant.
“I don’t think he’s ever seen anything of me before, but him wanting to have a look at me play is exciting and quite a compliment.”
Kitching, a centre-half by trade, didn’t let himself down over the course of the 90 minutes, producing a tidy display on the left-hand side of Town’s back four as they recorded a 4-2 win.
“I thought I played alright, it went okay,” he added.
“Like the whole team I felt I was a little bit sloppy at times in the first half, but we were much better in the second and that was reflected in the scoreline in the end – we got what we deserved.”
Kitching almost got off to the perfect start in front of Bielsa, bursting into the Barrow box within 60 seconds of kick-off and forcing visiting custodian Andrew Firth into a fine save with his legs.
“I thought I hit it quite well, but maybe I’ve snatched at the shot a bit,” the former Rossett School pupil said.
“I remember colliding with one of their players, I looked around and he was on the floor and there was just a space to run into.
“Falks picked me out and I was basically one-on-one with the Barrow goalkeeper.
“It was a bit of a shock to find myself there, but unfortunately their keeper’s made the save.”
Kitching, a graduate of Leeds' academy system, is on loan at Town until January 2.
He signed a new three-year contract at Elland Road in the summer, a deal that saw him commit his future to the Whites until 2021.