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Leeds: Noel Whelan hails Whites’ youth setup

Leeds: Noel Whelan hails Whites’ youth setup -Leeds United

Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has hailed the brilliance of the Whites’ youth system, with individuals making positive progress into the first team.

The Lowdown: Youngsters progressing at Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have had a tricky start to the season, but while they have struggled on the pitch, it hasn’t been all negative at Elland Road.

One undoubted positive has been the impact of some academy prospects, with Jamie Shackleton and Joe Gelhardt making 14 appearances between them in all competitions.

England under-21s manager Lee Carsley has even hailed the youth system at Thorp Arch, praising the Yorkshire club’s ability to unearth exciting talent and saying that Leeds are doing a “great job” in bringing through players.

The Latest: Whelan lauds youth setup

Speaking to Football Insider, Leeds ambassador and BBC radio pundit Whelan also waxed lyrical over the Thorp Arch youth setup as the Whites continue to build for the future. He said:

“I think it’s not only Leeds United fans who are recognising what’s happening within the academy. There’s a lot of work going into developing these young men coming through the academy and into the first team.

“It makes it even sweeter to hear Lee Carsley recognising that as well. It’s amazing to hear these young guys getting recognition because it means the process is successful.

“Sometimes you don’t have to go out and spend £60m, £70m, when you have that pathway which can bring players through gradually.

“That pathway is really bearing fruit now as we are seeing a lot of youngsters in the first team.”

The Verdict: Great to see

It is easy for football clubs to be impatient and only focus on the here-and-now, but Leeds’ approach is shrewd in terms of its academy excelling and youngsters being given a chance to shine.

The likes of Shackleton, Gelhardt and previous academy graduate Kalvin Phillips are proving their worth in the first team, and even if some don’t find success long-term with the Whites, they could still fetch hefty price tags further down the line, bringing in valuable funds for the club.

The key is to ensure that Leeds don’t fall into decline again once Bielsa moves on, and having a strong youth system can only be a positive in that respect, with the development of exciting homegrown potentially enabling the club to become somewhat self-sufficient in constructing future first team squads.

In other news, Leeds are keen on signing a ‘big six’ player – find out who it is here.

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Article title: Leeds: Noel Whelan hails Whites’ youth setup

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