Like father, like son. That’s what Charlton fans hope striker Miles Leaburn will embody against Manchester United.
The 19-year-old started his first season with the Addicks senior team, playing beyond his years and entering 2023 as the club’s top scorer despite missing 15 games with an ankle injury.
After spending nearly a decade in Chelsea’s academy from the age of seven to under 16, Leaburn left the Blues and traveled across London to sign for Charlton.
After two seasons at the Under-18s at Sparrows Lane, Leaburn was given a chance in the Charlton first team for the League One opener this season at Accrington Stanley.
He used his opportunity coming off the bench to score his first professional goal, which he describes as a “massive” moment for him in his career.
And Leaburn hasn’t looked back, with seven goals in 22 appearances making the youngster one of the Football League’s hottest prospects.
“I’ve come a long way so far,” he said in an interview with talkSPORT.com.
“It’s only been a little less than six months, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot already.
“I think I’m learning pretty fast, but it’s also thanks to my teammates, especially Ryan. [Inniss] and Eoghan [O’Connell] always giving me advice in training.
Leaburn had already won the affection of Charlton fans before he started scoring for them, given that he is the son of former Addicks striker Carl Leaburn, who scored 66 goals for the club between 1987 and 1998.
Not only that, but Leaburn’s mother and Carl’s wife, Tracey, also work at The Valley as a first-team player care manager – so Charlton runs through the Leaburn family DNA.
“It’s good to have my mum with me,” the striker told talkSPORT.com with a smile.
“She’s like a supporter who’s always by my side, which is good.
“She’s there to congratulate me in good times but also to help me in bad times, so it’s really nice to have her around.”
The Addicks take on Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, with more than 9,000 fans expected to make the trip from south London.
It will be the first time Charlton – a former Premier League stalwart – has played at Old Trafford since 2007.
And the hope is that Leaburn will find the net up there, just like his father did in 1994 when Carl scored for Charlton in an eventual 3-1 loss to a star-studded United side that counted Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Eric. Cantona in its ranks.
When asked if he had spoken to his father about scoring at Old Trafford, Leaburn said: “He told me it was obviously a lot of pressure against United but you just have to take it in your stride. and not crack under pressure.
“He believes in me and my abilities and he knows I can do well – it’s just because of me.”
Charlton pulled off a major upset against Brighton in the last 16 under caretaker boss Anthony Hayes, winning on penalties to become the only remaining non-top flight team in the competition, which rewarded them with a trip to the ‘ The Theater of Dreams’.
“When we got the draw it was obviously exciting because United are a great club, especially at Old Trafford,” Leaburn said when asked how the team was feeling ahead of the game.
“It’s a great platform to play on.
“It’s exciting, it’s a place to show people who you are, what you can do.
“I think people will think ‘it’s Charlton against United’. But they thought the same against Brighton and we proved them wrong.
“There’s always room to win and disappoint the other team, so we always have a chance to win, and that’s the feeling.”
It’s just the start for Leaburn in his career, but with fans already chanting his name week in and week out, as they once did for dad, the sky’s the limit for the Bromley-born goalscorer.
And when asked if there was anyone he was looking to emulate in the future, there was one star in particular that came to mind.
“Growing up there weren’t too many players that I really looked up to and thought ‘yeah, I really want to be like them’ because not many people have my physique or the same style,” the striker explained. 6 feet 5 inches.
“But I look at Erling Haaland now and he’s the same size as me, he’s got power like me and I just think if I was aiming to be like anybody it would be him.
“The goalscorer that he is, it’s just like ‘wow’. That’s what I want to add to my game.”
You can listen to all the action from Charlton’s Carabao Cup draw against Man United on Tuesday live on talkSPORT, with coverage from 7pm.