What would it mean for Leeds United's youngsters if Neil Redfearn left?

Elland Road pitchside

Could a Neil Redfearn departure from Elland Road have a significant negative impact on Leeds United's young talent?

In a recent interview with the Mirror, Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino made a series of comments that suggested Neil Redfearn’s time as manager of the club may well be coming to an end.

“He has to respect the chairman,” Cellino is quoted as saying. “He has to respect the club. He’s like a baby.

“He’s been badly advised and used by someone. He is not a bad person but he has a weak personality.”

After comments like that, could Redfearn still be set for a second season in charge at Elland Road? Only time will tell, but if the 49-year-old does move on this summer, could his exit mean more to the club than simply replacing one manager with another?

After all, Redfearn’s former role in Leeds’ academy cannot and should not be understated. He did a wonderful job, just as he did in making sure some of the club’s young talents were ready for their first-team chance when called upon and others reacted when he himself decided they were ready for that step up.

Lewis Cook may have recently signed a new contract at the club, but will others follow if Redfearn is replaced in what is fast becoming something more akin to musical chairs.

Three men were in charge at Leeds at various points this season, with Redfearn taking control twice – once temporarily and then on a permanent basis.

But how permanent is ‘permanent’ when your owner brands you a “baby” with a “weak personality”? And how strong is the next generation’s bond with a man who has helped build one of the most exciting groups of youngsters in English football?

That is what they are: Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram, Charlie Taylor, Kalvin Phillips, Chris Dawson et al. But without Redfearn at the helm, could the future of those same players suddenly be a little less certain?

It is all hypothetical of course, but the youngsters perform for Redfearn, he knows them and they know him, and there is a question to be asked as to how long some of the Championship’s top young talent will remain at a club where uncertainty is too often the default setting.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch