Leeds United have seen a contract offer rejected by Matlock Town defender Ashton Hall, Vital Leeds can reveal.
The promising ace had been on trial with the Whites from the non-league outfit in February, but has opted against a permanent move to West Yorkshire in favour of securing a return to Premier League new boys Sheffield United, with his transfer confirmed on Monday, July 8 for an undisclosed compensation fee.
Hall, who had often worn the Gladiator’s captain’s armband as part of their development squad, will now join the Blades’ development team, and follows the path taken by Zak Brunt who made the same move last summer.
A source with knowledge of Hall’s move to Sheffield United has confirmed to Vital Leeds that Whites chiefs had also presented a contract to the dominating centre-half, but conceded that his potential return to Bramall Lane was his preferred destination.
The 18-year-old began his youth career with our 2018/19 Championship promotion rivals, but was released by the Blades at the age of 14 and went on to join the Gladiators’ academy, where he would become the youngest ever Matlock player to earn a professional contract.
Hall also lifted the Derbyshire Divisional Cup and led the Gladiators to a runners-up finish in the Academy NPL league, before being put through his paces with our Under 23s while on trial at Thorp Arch earlier in the year.
His trial even included a full-ninety minute run out as part of Mark Jackson’s Under 18s in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Shrewsbury Town, which former Gladiators boss Dave Frecklington described as ‘outstanding’.
“He was excellent, outstanding, playing on the right of a back three in the first half and on the right of a back four in the second half,” he told Matlock Town’s official website.
“He’d gone into the game off the cuff with just one training session with Leeds, so to step up and play so well with a totally new group of people was brilliant.
“His attitude and application has always been outstanding and I’m really, really pleased for him.”