YORK City's rookie England goalkeeper Russ Howarth is linking up with Leeds United, the Evening Press can reveal.

But the teenage shot stopper is not deserting Bootham Crescent in a dramatic big money move to Elland Road.

Instead, the 18-year-old is going to aid of the Premiership giants and furthering his footballing experience by agreeing to appear in a seven-a-side tournament in Singapore.

With United's reserve 'keeper Paul Robinson on England Under-21 duty and their youth team replacements injured, Leeds have invited Howarth to join their travelling party.

The competition will be staged this weekend and will also include sides from Leicester City and Coventry.

The Leeds team, made up of primarily youth team players, will also include Carlisle United defender Paul Reid and midfielder-cum defender Damien Lynch, who is hoping to build his fitness after only playing three reserve games for Leeds in the last 18 months.

The Leeds select seven-a-side team will play four games on Saturday with the top sides in each group going through to play in the semi-finals and finals on the Sunday.

Leeds were thought to be one of a number of top-flight clubs monitoring Riccall-based Howarth's progress at the beginning of last season when he was installed as City number one by then York boss Neil Thompson.

However, in March this year Leeds swooped to sign another teenage goalkeeping sensation in 17-year-old Shaun Allaway from Reading.

The Allaway deal, which could land the Royals an eventual £2million for a kid who had yet to play a first team game, ended speculation linking Howarth with Leeds.

In any case, a rock-steady Howarth had already pledged his allegiance to the Minstermen by signing a three-year deal back in August last year.

Allaway had been close to signing for Spurs but when Tottenham stalled after the 'keeper broke a hand United moved quickly to land the Reading youngster who, like Howarth, has been capped at under-16 level by England.

At the end of last month, Howarth capped a fine first season as a full professional by appearing for England Under-17s in their 2-0 friendly win in Luxembourg. Howarth was the only Third Division player included in the squad.