All the signs are there that Leeds United could be about to enter another golden generation in terms of producing top-quality academy players.
A distinguished youth policy at the club has seen the likes of Lewis Cook, Tom Cairney and Danny Rose amongst others go onto represent clubs in the Premier League in recent years.
Upon the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa in the summer, the Whites have decided once again to prioritise homegrown players with a number of promising young talents breaking through this season. Jack Clarke, Jamie Shackleton and Bailey Peacock-Farrell have all experienced regular game time in the Championship with all three demonstrating promising signs in what is arguably England’s most competitive league.
Whereas some club’s in the second tier decide to spend abnormal amounts of money in their quest to reach the Premier League, Leeds have undeniably benefited from utilising their own academy graduates as they now find themselves within touching distance of promotion this season.
If they do overcome either Norwich City or Sheffield United in the next eight games to secure a top-two finish, Bielsa must continue to call upon homegrown players, especially when you consider just how well they are doing in the youth leagues this season.
A 2-0 win over Colchester United for the club’s under 23’s in the Professional Development League North on Monday saw the Whites secure the title ahead of the likes of Birmingham and Burnley. Even if only two or three of the players involved against the U’s breakthrough to Leeds’ first team over the coming years, it will prove that they must continue to look to their academy in the future.
Not only is it cost-efficient to bring through youth players but it can also bring immense pride to supporters of a club, especially if they are born in and around the region of the team they represent. In contrast, bringing in expensive transfers from elsewhere could easily backfire and in extreme cases create a disconnect between fans and the side they follow.
What do you think Leeds fans? Should Bielsa continue to bring through academy products at Elland Road? Or would you prefer your club to spend big in the summer instead? Let us know below.
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