It’s been pretty difficult to be a Hull City fan over the past few years since the Allams’ managed decline of the club.
After years of wishing for new owners, Tigers fans finally got their saviour – Acun Illicali. Flying across all four corners of the globe from Turkey to Miami; the Dominican Republican to… Kingston Upon Hull, one shining light City have had through the hard times is a wealth of young local talent come through the academy.
21-year-old Keane Lewis-Potter is just one name that so-called “bigger” clubs are talking about, but ever since he rose to prominence in late 2019 there has been a buzz around the local youngster – and for very good reason.
Having made his debut and impressed in the 2019/20 season, he really stood out in the club’s League One title winning season the following campaign. Out of 43 games played in the league, Lewis-Potter netted 13 times and assisted a further 6 goals.
It was a steep learning curve for the forward, but with the club having a transfer embargo after taking out loans from the EFL it meant that then-manager Grant McCann had to rely on young players such as Jacob Greaves, Brandon Fleming and Lewis-Potter to add to the free signings and loan deals that were at his disposal.
Many questioned whether Lewis-Potter could handle the step up back to the Championship last summer – not City fans, however. He made a big statement by scoring the equaliser on the opening day away to Preston North End in an eventual 4-1 away win for the Tigers. This was also the game that saw him become the first player since the mid 1990s to score the opening goal of the season in consecutive campaigns for the club, as he had done so against Gillingham in 2020/21.
Lewis-Potter showed just what he was about in some crucial games last year. Hull City may have gone through some difficult stages during the season – failing to score in a high number of games – but he was often the bright spark. Goals against Peterborough United, Middlesbrough and Reading in particular showed that on his day, he is completely unplayable and will only get better with time.
His price tag will only have increased over the past two weeks. After being selected for his second England U21 squad, he made his full debut against Albania and scored after just two minutes. The movement for his goal was superb and he added to his stats just days ago when he came off the bench to set up Cameron Archer who scored what turned out to be a consolation goal against Slovenia.
There will no doubt be comparisons made to Jarrod Bowen – another ex-Hull City player who went on to sign for a Premier League side and impress those who were previously unaware of him. Bowen has shown excellent form this year and has been rewarded with a call up to the senior England squad – many will be asking which club it will be who take Lewis-Potter to the perceived “next level”.
Whether it’s West Ham United, Brentford, or even Everton, top flight clubs seem to be showing an interest. However, it could be argued that for Lewis-Potter to keep developing, he needs to keep playing regularly. Starting games may not be a regular habit if he chooses a big money move at this point in his career, and he would perhaps stall in his development if he is sat on the bench for weeks on end (or worse, in a Premier League club’s U23 team).
He needs week in, week out game experience at a Championship club who know his worth and play to his strengths. He has that in his current home town club and I’m sure Illicali and the Hull City hierarchy are doing everything in their power to convince him just that.
With any luck, he’ll stay at the MKM Stadium next year and become an even better player than he already is – as well as becoming an ever present in Lee Carsley’s U21 squad.