Meet the rookie gloveman flying the Aussie flag at Leeds

Leeds United's teenage goalkeeper Cooper Skerry Source: Twitter

In the early noughties, Leeds United’s gravitational field drew a host of Australians into its orbit, headed up by twin supernovas Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.

These days, there’s a solitary Aussie at Elland Road - teenage goalkeeper Cooper Skerry.

The kid from Brisbane - who turns 17 today - has quite a legacy to live up to in following the footsteps of Kewell, Viduka, Paul Okon, Jacob Burns, fellow gloveman Danny Milosevic, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Jamie McMaster.

While the aforementioned six-pack enjoyed varying degrees of success at one of English football’s most iconic clubs, Skerry (pronounced Scary) is looking to pen his own chapter in the Aussie annals in Yorkshire.

“Obviously the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka were huge names here - and I’d love to make an impact of my own one day,” said Skerry, who played his formative football with NPL side Brisbane City before signing a two-year scholarship contract with Leeds.

“Right now I’m playing with the Under-18s and my goal this season would be to make a debut with the Under-23s.

“Beyond that, I’d love to establish myself with the reserves - but right now I’m still developing the basics.

“There’s a huge difference in the quality of training between here and Australia and I’m trying to get all the aspects of my game to the best level possible.

“Obviously the end goal is to reach the top but it’s all about developing my skills.”

It shows how far Kewell was ahead of the curve that he had made his senior Leeds debut by the age of 17 - six years before Skerry was even born.

Skerry - an imposing 192cm presence - has yet to have an audience with the club’s eccentric Argentine boss Marcelo Bielsa, but is highly rated by the club who worked hard to push through his paper work, a task that Swansea City and Manchester United shied away from after showing strong initial interest.

He models his game on Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel because of his “aggression and dominance”.

“Our goalkeeping coach Neill Sullivan is quality and I feel I’m learning a little bit more every day,” he added.

“I’ve only been here since August and I can feel myself improving heaps already.

“Australia’s not a bad career path but if you can go to England, I think it’s the best option footballing wise.

“I’m training twice a day, the coaches are more experienced and this is the best place for me to be.”

Skerry says the ambition around the club - who fell just shy of a return to the Premier League last season - is palpable.

Leeds lie second in the Championship after 17 games, with Skerry adding: “There’s a lot of hope that this will be the year.

“This is such a big club - there are 10 full-size training fields for one thing. The facilities are top class. You’re getting treated alright here, that’s for sure.”

Skerry dreams of one day attracting the attention of Australia’s national teams, explaining: “I think being at Leeds might help me get recognised.”