Irish international midfielder Callum O’Dowda has been attracting attention from Championship leaders Leeds United, but Bristol City manager Lee Johnson appears to be very keen on keeping the 23-year old at Ashton Gate.
Reports emerged during the week that Leeds were interested in bringing O’Dowda to Elland Road as they look to build up their squad for the business end of the season.
O’Dowda was impressive in Bristol City’s 1-0 win over Martin O’Neill’s Nottingham Forest on Saturday and his club this week triggered an extension clause in his contract although it is only until the summer of 2020.
Speaking after the game, manager Lee Johnson outlined the importance of O’Dowda who has become a key man for the Championship side.
“First and foremost Callum is a fantastic human being and it’s important we set that type of culture at the football club. We knew about his potential at Oxford and given him the vehicle to grow and the work put into him behind the scenes.
“He has probably put four or five kilos of muscle mass on since he signed so it’s not just technical, it’s physical as well as tactical.
“He is a good student and he is a consistent part of the Ireland starting squad, and rightly so, and we want to keep him as long as we can.
“You saw his athleticism and calmness and composure on the ball today. He still has things to improve on – goals and assists – but certainly that raw potential is there for him to go and play at the very top level.”
O’Dowda had established himself as one of Ireland’s best midfielders in the last year, with Martin O’Neill clearly a huge fan of the former Oxford United man.
It will be interesting to see if O’Dowda can continue his promising form as Ireland gear up for the start of the Euro 2020 qualifiers in March.