Leeds United’s Academy has recently been praised by a nationwide review.
Speaking to the official Leeds website, Paul Hart has explained what separates the Whites’ academy from all their rivals, with their exceptional success rate meaning Leeds can be proud of their youth system.
Hart said: “What separates the Leeds United Academy from many of our rivals is that we actually put people in the first team. The review also takes into account people who have left the club to play in the first team for other clubs. It shows that we continue to produce players that are mentally tough enough to play at a senior level and players that have the talent.”
Hart was speaking after Leeds had been named the second most productive academy in England, with the review taking in to account the players who go on to make professional appearances.
For Leeds, they have a first-team full of their own academy products, whilst the rest of the Football League and Premier League is scattered with players who have developed in Thorp Arch.
Most notably, in the matchday squad for January’s game against Ipswich, Steve Evans had named all of Charlie Taylor, Lewis Cook, Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Kalvin Phillips, Lewie Coyle and Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Byram has since left to join West Ham, another sign of success for the academy, and Hart has claimed they stand out from most other clubs to the fact that players from Thorp Arch actually get into the first-team.
They don’t just develop and leave, Leeds make a habit of playing their young talents, if they believe they are good enough to have an impact.
The recent history of Leeds has been turbulent and hard to endure for fans, but the success of the academy system has been one of the constants that has followed the Elland Road club all the way back from the first golden generation of the 1960s.