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Leeds United youngsters on steep learning curve in Spain

The Leeds youngsters have been taking part in the Real Sociedad Torneo Internacional.

Mathew Nash

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It has been a fairly miserable few months for Leeds United fans. The first-team’s promotion push faded away rapidly and they now look set for a mid-table finish. But whilst the seniors have disappointed there is always hope given to the Leeds faithful from their youth-teams.

Several young players such as Kun Temenuzhkov, Ryan Edmondson and Jack Clarke are currently getting Leeds fans excited for the future and those three are just outstanding examples.

LA CORUNA, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 22: A Real Sociedad de Futbol fan holding a Club’s flag smiles as he waits for his team’s arrival before the La Liga match between RC Deportivo La Coruna and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Riazor Stadium outdoors on November 22, 2014 in La Coruna, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Leeds have revamped their youth teams under the new chairman Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta. Plenty of young recruits have been brought into the club, both from home and abroad. They have also been participating in some interesting tournaments, such as the tri-series in Qatar with the Aspire Academy.

This week they sent the club’s under-13s and under-17’s to Spain for a tournament that will have been a brilliant learning experience.

Leeds under-17s took part in the Torneo Internacional Real Sociedad. They faced the likes of Sporting Lisbon, Celta Vigo, Osasuna, Valencia and host club Real Sociedad. The hosts won the competition, beating Valencia in the final. Leeds came fifth overall.

A supporter of Sporting waves his club’s flag at half-time during the UEFA Champions League football match Sporting CP vs NK Maribor at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on November 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The under-13s faced the same teams apart from Valencia, who were replaced by the juniors from Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ youngsters won the competition with Leeds coming last.

But despite the mixed results playing against youngsters from some of the best academies in Spain and the sensational system at Sporting would have been an incredible learning curve for the Leeds youngsters.

A lot of what is going on at Leeds right now is not pleasing fans of the club. But in regards to the youth system, Radrizzani and Orta clearly have a vision which is being implemented with success.

The recent participation in such a prestigious tournament is just another sign of that success.

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New Everton deal great for the future and gets one over on Steven Gerrard

The midfielder has committed his future to Everton until 2020.

Mathew Nash

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This summer saw Rangers appoint Steven Gerrard as manager. The former Liverpool man was swiftly linked with plenty of young talent from Merseyside and not just those he worked with as academy coach at Melwood.

Gerrard was also linked with a move for Everton youngster Alex Denny back in May. As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Rangers were keen as contract talks with Everton had broken down.

However, those deals must have got back underway.  Yesterday, the 18-year-old signed a new deal at Everton.

Denny signed his first professional deal with Everton this week. Whilst keeping him out of the clutches of Liverpool legend Gerrard is a win in itself, Everton fans will be far more excited about what he can bring to the club in the future.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The England youth international is the latest in a long line of promising talent to emerge at Everton.

With the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Beni Baningime and Tom Davies in first-team action last term, Denny can easily begin to hope he can follow in such footsteps.

Denny is now contracted at Everton until 2020 and in the next two years will hope to show he is capable of being a star at Goodison Park.

Sorry Stevie G but for now, this one’s a Toffee.

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Liverpool should stay away from Domagoj Vida despite World Cup heroics

Liverpool are reportedly weighing up a move for the Croatian international.

Liam Thomas

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"Photo: Getty Images"

Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign Croatian World Cup star Domagoj Vida, with the Reds looking to bolster their squad depth in a bid to bring Jurgen Klopp his first piece of silverware with the club.

According to the Express, Liverpool have already made a bid for Vida, who is partnering current Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren for Croatia at this summer’s World Cup.

Vida currently plays his football in Turkey with Besiktas, after making a move from Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv back in January but, at 29, is the Croatian international the man to solve Liverpool’s defensive frailties?

Despite impressing at the World Cup, there is no doubt that Liverpool should be aiming higher in a bid to find their £75million centre-back Virgil van Dijk a worthy partner.

It could even be argued that Van Dijk and Lovren did enough to prove to Klopp at the end of last season that they had a solid enough partnership to carry the club forward next season. Howwever, it seems the Liverpool boss still identifies the centre-back position as an area of improvement for the Reds.

Unfortunately, Vida is not in the top bracket of centre-backs that Liverpool so desperately need to partner Van Dijk at the heart of their defence, and making a move for the Besiktas man would be a disappointment to many.

With Klopp on the verge of potential greatness with the Reds, it would be a silly time to invest in any player who is not quite up to scratch.

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Did one year ago today mark the start of Ronald Koeman’s Everton demise?

Everton focussed on one man for too long and never replaced Romelu Lukaku.

Mathew Nash

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This time last year saw Everton busy in the transfer market. Sandro Ramirez arrived from Malaga on the same day the club also procured Michael Keane from Burnley. But it was also the day that reports first started emerging that Everton had targeted the man to replace Romelu Lukaku.

According to The Mirror, the Toffees were lining up a £20 million bid for the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman was seeing his future at Arsenal cast into doubt by the signing of Alexandre Lacazette and Everton hoped to lure him to Goodison Park.

It was a deal that rumbled on throughout the summer but, in the end, Giroud chose to remain at Arsenal.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It was, according to Ronald Koeman, the decision that eventually cost him his job at Everton. As he told Voetbal International, as relayed by The Telegraph, they had Giroud ‘in the building’ but he decided he did not want to leave London.

Everton’s inability to replace Lukaku left them desperately short in attack. It proved a massive contributing factor to Everton’s woeful start to the season which saw Koeman dismissed in October.

Giroud, of course, went on to join Chelsea in January.

Everton’s demise from last season, as far as Koeman is concerned, can be pinpointed too hedging their bets on Giroud 12 months ago.

This summer the club must be more fluid in the transfer market.

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