Mallik Wilks will be brimming with excitement ahead of the new season following his arrival at Barnsley.
It will be the first time he is part of first-team plans in a Championship side, and he will be determined to continue where he left off at Doncaster.
Barnsley have offered the 20-year-old a fresh opportunity after he struggled to break into the Leeds first-team – making only one appearance for The Whites in a 2017 FA Cup match.
Despite that, he showed his true ability on loan at Doncaster last season. He became one of Grant McCann’s most valuable players, and featured in every league match as he scored 14 goals and grabbed eight assists – firing Rovers into the League One play-offs.
Now he is part of a Barnsley side looking to make their mark on the Championship after a year away, and he will be chomping at the bit to kick-start the season.
A reason for that is Barnsley’s attacking style, which should suit him down to the ground. They scored 80 goals and Daniel Stendel should play in a similar fashion next season, particularly now he has added the pacy and direct Wilks.
The winger also has a point to prove too, particularly to his former employers. He will be eager to justify his price tag and show the division what a threat he can be.
From his successful spell at Rovers he has a winning mentality, so it may be difficult for him to adjust to a side which is likely to find itself in the bottom half of the table. He will need the faith of his manager and encouragement to stick to his style and believe in himself during periods of difficulty.
Wilks was very productive last season and he will hope to replicate that at the next level. If there is one aspect of his game which requires improvement it is his crossing. He has time now to gel and get used to working with strikers like Kieffer Moore and Cauley Woodrow.
He needs to fit into Barnsley’s style and work out the movement of his strikers, both of whom rely on service from crosses – particularly Moore, whose best asset is his heading ability.
Wilks should be looking to learn a lot but he should link up really well with the likes of Woodrow and Cameron McGeehan – that trio could be vital to The Tykes’ chances of survival next season.
If he shows a willingness to learn and a hunger to be the best he can be he should be a success, and that could begin from he first match against Fulham.