Six former Leeds United players we can’t believe are still playing in 2021
Anyone that’s followed Leeds United in the 21st century will be well familiar of the churn of players that have come and gone, particularly during their time outside the Premier League.
So it can be difficult to keep tabs on the literally hundreds of players that used to turn out at Elland Road. Among them all, there are a few surprising and interesting post-Leeds career paths, and more than a few names we bet you’ve forgotten about entirely.
We’ve picked out six former Leeds players that are still – somehow – continuing to play football in 2021.
James Milner and Aaron Lennon continue to ply their trade in the Premier League, but there’s one other member of Leeds’ last Premier League squad that is still going – and at the top level, too.
Okay, “playing” is stretching it – given that Carson has made one appearance in over two years since he joined Manchester City from Derby County in 2019 – but he seems to be relishing his role on the periphery of Pep Guardiola’s juggernauts.
It’s mad to think now that the 36-year-old goalkeeper’s career has spanned the entirety of Leeds’ 16-year exile out of the Premier League, and a fair bit more, having first broken through as a teenager with three appearances in the club’s 2003-04 relegation campaign.
Having originally joined on loan from Bolton in 2007 (you’ll find him on the below list somewhere…), Slovakia international Michalik went on to make 49 appearances for Leeds during their League One wilderness years.
Following the club’s promotion back to the Championship in 2010, the centre-back joined Carlisle, and after a short stint at Portsmouth, went to Kazakhstani side Kairat.
Surprisingly enough, he’s still going at the age of 38, now turning out back in Slovakia for SKF Sered.
Irish defender Sheehan has represented no fewer than 13 different clubs during his career, since emerging at Leicester City in the mid-oughts.
One of those clubs was Leeds, with 11 League One appearances during the 2008-09 campaign – one that inevitably ended in play-off heartbreak.
Having left for Swindon, his CV reads as a who’s who of Football League stalwarts – Notts County, Bradford, Luton, Peterborough, Lincoln.
At the age of 35, he appears to be winding down, but already appears to be looking ahead to the next stage of his career as a player-coach at Oldham Athletic.
“He’s got a presence, he’s got ability, he’s got a left foot, but he’s also a communicator. He’s learning and developing the role as a coach,” explained Oldham boss Keith Curle after signing the veteran in 2021.
Leeds signed Green off the back of his Euro 2012 campaign with the Republic of Ireland, but as with his former club Derby, his two years at Elland Road coincided with midtable mediocrity in the Championship.
Subsequent years would see him gradually tumble down the pyramid, going from Rotherham (Championship) to Oldham (League One) and eventually Crewe Alexandra (League Two).
Now he’s turning out in the National League North for Boston United, at the age of 38. Can’t knock the graft.
White is the youngest player on this list, still just 30, having emerged as a promising teenager at boyhood club Leeds over a decade ago, named the club’s Young Player of the Year in 2009-10.
But you could be forgiven for thinking he’d retired given his years of injury hell after departing Elland Road in 2015. Rarely would he clock up double figures for appearances in any season at Oldham, Sheffield United, Rotherham and Barnsley and he didn’t play at all, clubless, between 2017 and 2019.
The full-back then got the reward of two years of hard work by joining Scottish Premiership club Hearts. He went on to make 34 appearances across two years for the club, and is now turning out for Rochdale.
— Leeds All Over (@LeedsAllOver) November 28, 2020
Given how forgettable the 2012-13 season under Neil Warnock was, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that Norris made 34 appearances for the Whites that year. He fell out of favour following Warnock’s departure and quietly left for Peterborough after over a year on the periphery in 2014.
“He didn’t want any players over 30 involved,” Norris later told The Yorkshire Post about controversial former owner Massimo Cellino. “A few of us got pushed aside, but that is football sometimes. But what I most remember at Leeds is the fans.”
Nowadays, at the age of 40, he’s turning out for non-league outfit Lancaster City FC.