PHOTO: Leeds youngsters all smiles after signing new deals

Leeds United

Leeds United reiterated their commitment to investing in their youth team by signing no less than seven academy prospects on their first professional contracts.

Leeds United, yesterday, announced the signing of seven talented academy prospects as Cellino, along with Dave Hockaday, look to put more faith in the club's impressive youth side. 

The report on the official website states: ''The club are proud to announce that seven scholars have all passed through the Leeds United Academy system, some from the age of eight years old, and have signed their first professional contracts."

''The seven are Dan Atkinson, Luke Booker, Lewis Coyle, Tyler Denton, Jake Skelton, Kalvin Phillips and Alex Purver."

''Along with Afolabi Coker signing an extension to his deal and new recruit Robbie McDaid also on board from July 1, it is exciting times for the professional development group, all of which will look to catch the eye of new head coach Dave Hockaday.'' 

The news of the youngsters signing up with Massimo Cellino's Leeds United will come as no shock to supporters who expect young players to get a fairer crack of the whip under the new club management. 

''Our overheads are still a little bit too high for a Championship club,'' said Cellino in May. ''Some of them are more like Champions League than Championship."

''We have to spend our resources on buying good young players with talent and keep the wages down."

''The biggest problem we have is that we do not have enough humility to approach a Championship season.'' 

The chairman's comments, at the time, seemed like a big hint that Leeds would look to field a younger side in the future and could look at the talent in the academy to achieve that goal. 

The players signed up by Leeds United went on to express their delight at penning new deals on the official club website. 

Tyler Denton, who posted the image on Twitter, commented: ''I've been here a long time, I think it has been nearly 14 years now so it feels great to finally sign for Leeds. I support Leeds as well so it is good.'' 

Nevertheless, all seven players will now understand that the hard work to become a first-team Leeds United player starts now as competition for places in the Leeds United team - once Hockaday has his squad in place - is expected to be huge. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch