Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino bemoans the cost of successful academy

Alex Mowatt

Despite Leeds United producing several top talents, Italian owner Massimo Cellino is not keen on the price-tag.

Leeds United have been commended this season for their youth system. With the likes of Sam Byram, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor all regulars in the line-up, and Kalvin Phillips and Lewis Walters breaking into the team, you can understand why.

But despite this it seems Massimo Cellino is not such a fan of the academy at Leeds.

In the latest excerpt from the Italian's remarkable press conference at Elland Road on Thursday, the Yorkshire Evening Post report him as stating:

“I don’t know the English rules. I just see that we spend more than £1.2m a year just to play the academy players’ wages.

“No way in the world you pay those academy wages. I ask ‘why are we paying that?’ And they tell me because otherwise they can go to someone else.

“I might start the academy at 16 years old because if we do the work and then they go to Manchester because they have a couple more pounds than Leeds, that’s really wrong."

But he is also happy to say that Leeds grow 'beautiful players'. He stated:

"Here we have big luck because in Leeds they grow beautiful players. Not because we are good but because it’s (in the) DNA. The thing that makes me proud, different to Cagliari, is that players there say ‘we want £1000 or we go away.’ In Leeds it’s not like that. That’s something I’m proud to say.”

Leeds have plenty of talent coming through the ranks but Cellino is right to be concerned about the fact some players can up and leave.

In the past they have seen the likes of Luke Garbutt and Danny Rose move on to Premier League clubs Everton and Tottenham Hotspur - so they need to ensure their players stick around.

But with four of their best current players coming through the youth ranks at Leeds and a rich history of producing great players Cellino can surely not be too worried about the apparent £1.2 million bill to produce the quality they currently are.

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