Leeds United have quite the history of academy graduates, from Champions League winners to serial title lifters. When you think of the Leeds academy these days, the name Kalvin Phillips is the main name that springs to mind. The defensive midfielder was voted England’s Player of the Year in 2021 following Euro 2020, where he starred next to Declan Rice.
Phillips follows a long line of successful graduates, and will be hoping to replicate the success of players like James Milner, especially following his move to Manchester City.
With that said, we decided to take a look at Leeds United’s academy graduates that went on to make the most first-team appearances, using TransferMarkt.
Jonathan Howson (223)
Most Premier League fans will remember Johnathan Howson – mostly known as Johnny Howson – for his time at Norwich City. But, before then, the midfielder managed to feature 223 times for the Leeds United first team after graduating from the academy.
Kalvin Phillips (233)
The defensive midfielder has been through it all with the Yorkshire club, from promotion to survival in the Premier League. He’s now making the gigantic step up to Man City, and the Elland Road faithful will no doubt wish him well.
Ian Harte (280)
Played a part in the Leeds side that reached the UEFA Cup last four twice in the space of two seasons between 1999 and 2001. Fans at Elland Road will particularly remember Harte for his appearances in the aforementioned games, and his stunning free-kick goal against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League last eight first leg.
Gary Sprake (304)
Making 304 appearances for Leeds United, Gary Sprake has his place in the club’s history. Most fans will remember the shot-stopper for a couple of his biggest mistakes, however. One came against Liverpool in 1967, when his attempted throw resulted in the ball somehow landing in his own net.
Eddie Gray (328)
With two league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup to his name, it’s fair to say that Eddie Gray’s 328 appearances were a roaring success. The Leeds legend won almost everything there is to win during his time at Elland Road.
Jack Charlton (332)
The late great Jack Charlton made an impressive 332 appearances for Leeds United, where he managed to win several honours – one league title, to one FA Cup and one League Cup. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest defenders to ever play for the Yorkshire club.
Peter Lorimer (442)
Like Gray, Peter Lorimer won it all in English football, from league titles to the FA Cup. He played for the club in arguably their best era and in 442 appearances found the back of the net a total of 133 times.
Norman Hunter (447)
Part of the 1966 World Cup-winning England squad, Norman Hunter also made 447 appearances for Leeds United, and is one of the club’s greatest legends. He had plenty of success at Elland Road, too, winning two league titles alongside an FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.
Paul Reaney (499)
One appearance shy of the 500 mark, Paul Reaney will forever have his place in Leeds United history. During his time at the Yorkshire club, he managed to win everything there is to win in English football. In the club’s history of right-backs, Reaney is up there amongst the very best.
Gary Kelly (501)
The academy graduate with the most Leeds United appearances, Gary Kelly made 501 in total. When it comes to Premier League appearances, too, no player has made more in a Leeds shirt than Kelly. The right-back was simply Mr Consistent at Elland Road, and more than earned his place in the club’s history.
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