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Key question for Redfearn: Can Leeds United's youngsters handle the pressure?

Elland Road

Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn will have a big role to play in terms of Leeds' youngsters over the second half of the season.

Leeds United have arguably the best academy in the country in terms of younger players produced for the first team setup.

However, a key question, which first team head coach Neil Redfearn has to constantly consider is whether his young stars can handle the pressure of playing for one of England’s biggest clubs.

Leeds have several younger players who have quickly become vital to the first team; Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook as well as plenty more on the fringes of the side looking to break in.

Their job is to fire Leeds up the table and towards the play-offs where they can be competitive in terms of trying to go back up to the Premier League at the end of the season.

The worry for the boss is how his younger players will react as the pressure increases over the second half of the table.

At the moment, the youngsters in the team effectively have free licence to go and play expansive and attacking football because the side is off the back of a poor run under the reign of Darko Milanic.

As the stakes get higher, Redfearn will be tested to his limit as he watches his younger players and how they handle the stress moments.

If it comes down to a real high pressure situation in a big game Redfearn will be tested and will have to decide whether to stick with his younger players, playing well at the moment, or utilise his squad and make the most of more experienced options.

So far he’s done a great job in terms of stepping in with the media and supporters to protect his younger players, which suggests he already has one eye further into the season when he may be forced to do the same after a mistake or poor performance which costs Leeds valuable points.

It’s also worth remembering that Redfearn’s reputation at Leeds has been built on the work he’s done with the youth teams and the academy.

He knows these younger players extremely well and seems to have the right balance at the moment in terms of the players he uses, the summer signings he blends in and the experience he injects into the side from current players.

Can they handle the pressure? They’ll be tested, but they have undoubted talent and a manager who will protect them when the going gets tough.

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