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Why the development of youth could be the key to success for Leeds United

The Boot Room



Pantomime villain and club owner Massimo Cellino has always been notoriously ruthless when it comes to time allotted to his appointed head coaches. Certainly football is a results business and that is nothing new, but Cellino has an impulsive streak which often causes his self destructive termination of head coaches to occur before the ink has dried on their contract.

In Garry Monk he has found someone who has the skills to encourage longevity in the role at hand by paying serious attention to ensure that focus be applied on the long term development of the young stars coming through the club. In the past head coaches have started the job in fear of being fired, their focus only on the immediate occurring within the club. That fear spread into the players and ultimately onto the pitch and prevented the team from living up to the expectations of a ravenous fan base.

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Cellino’s appointment of Monk has had a different effect and a calming sense of confidence has spread through the Elland Road club. Six new additions to the squad early in the close season took the fans by surprise, adding quality to areas which desperately required it and much needed experience to sections of a young squad who were lacking it.

Unfortunately since those signings, Leeds fans have had to endure the sale of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth, uncertainty surrounding the future of Charlie Taylor and several potential deals which for one reason or another failed to reach completion. Fans began to complain about Cellino citing his actions as proof of broken promises once again. Questions were asked as doubts emerged about the money from the sale of Cook and why it had not yet been used to strengthen the squad.

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Mirco Silvestri appears to be set to leave the club after seemingly going from first choice to fourth choice keeper in a matter of a few short weeks. Reports suggested Sol Bamba had been placed on the transfer list amid speculation of a move away from the club. These were stories that added to the growing concern of fans, which began to worry about another season where the expectations could not be met with such a threadbare squad available to Monk.

The Presence of Youth

A pre-season campaign has seen the inclusion of a number of young players used by Leeds. This is partly due to necessity with the limited number of senior players available to him, but it has proven Monk to be braver than his predecessors in the role as head coach.

Fans have grown accustomed to the overused rhetoric of head coaches talking in glowing terms about the Thorp Arch Academy and how significant a role it plays in the future of the club, only to ignore the players graduating through its ranks when it comes to the question of first team involvement.

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There have been some notable exceptions of course, but in recent years, the players too frequently leave in pursuit of a contract in the lower leagues of the game.

Where previous head coaches have been too scared of achieving immediate results, Monk has used this as an opportunity to blood many of the most promising players with involvement in the first team squad. Bailey Parker-Farrell, Tyler Denton, Lewie Coyle, Paul McKay, Alex Purver, Eoghan Stokes, Ronaldo Vieira in addition to other recent academy graduates Alex Mowatt, Charlie Taylor and Kalvin Phillips in his pre season campaign

Some have looked a little out of their depth at times, which is to be expected, but there are positive signs once again that the club has produced some lads who have the potential to become very good players for the club. It is true to say some of the young lads are ready for first team action now and in promoting them, the squad becomes stronger.

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Monk expects some of these young lads to struggle, but in giving them opportunities now he is testing how they react and challenging them to continue working hard to develop. Giving them a taste of first team action will leave them hungry for more. If they have the desire he will help them achieve their ambition of succeeding at the club.

Much work is still required to strengthen a young squad and add further quality and experience to help develop the prospects coming through the clubs academy. The Leeds squad is filled with promise and potential and they need to be afforded to time to grow. Under Cellino and a passionate and loyal fan base, the minimum requirement is challenging for a promotion place this season. It may just be the secret behind that success lay in the production and development of young stars emerging from the clubs famous Thorp Arch Academy.

Leeds United

Apparent Boaz Myhill interest highlights what Leeds United still need despite Jamal Blackman deal

The Leeds goalkeeping department is lacking experience.

Mathew Nash



One area where Leeds United have been needing to improve this summer has been in goal. WIth Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan leaving the club after poor one season stints plenty of names have been mentioned. It seems that Jamal Blackman will be the man to take the reins.

However, according to Hull Live, it seems Boaz Myhill was also on their radar.

Hew left West Brom this summer after his contract with the Baggies came to an end and the club suffered relegation.

It now appears he is off to Bolton Wanderers, but should Leeds have been more forceful in their interest?

The one concern, if Leeds go with Blackman and Bailey Peacock-Farrell next season, will be a lack of experience in the goalkeeping department.

(during the FA Cup Quarter Final match between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park on March 7, 2015 in Birmingham, England.

At 35-years-old Myhill would have been a brilliant addition to the pack. The wily veteran could have added the experience necessary to help Blackman, still young at 24-years-old and the talented but raw 21-year-old.

Of course, Myhill would not have wanted to play second or even third fiddle for a Championship side. So Bolton, on his part makes perfect sense. He will be a regular in some of the final years of his career.

But hearing of Leeds apparent interest earlier this summer does highlight the need perhaps for another recruit. A 30-plus stopper willing to play a bit-part role and help the young Leeds keeper department improve and develop.

If Leeds can find such a player, they would be wise to snap him up.

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Leeds United

Leeds United round-up: Vieira wanted, Radrizzani buying Bari and Antonsson leaves

All the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash



Vieira wanted

Cardiff City want Leeds United midfielder Ronaldo Vieira this summer. The Sun on Sunday reports that the England under-21 international has become a target for the newly-promoted Premier League side.

Neil Warnock wants to add some stability to their midfield. He is now ready to make a move for the player, in a deal which could be worth around £8 million.

Leeds will not want to sell the player considering his importance to the team and his youth.

(during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

Radrizzani new club

It is reported that Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani is about to add to his footballing portfolio – according to Repubblica.

It appears he is part of a partnership with Ferdinando Napoli to save the Italian side Bari. they are in financial trouble and the mayor of Bari is pushing for the deal to go through.

It would be interesting to see if a deal would then develop into a link between the two clubs.

Antonsson departs

Marcus Antonsson has left Leeds. He has headed back to Sweden, joining Malmo.

The striker struggled to settle into life at Elland Road and could not find the net regularly in the Championship.

He was a success with Blackburn Rovers last season on loan and will now join former Leeds boss Uwe Rosler’s new team.

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Leeds United

Leeds United must not sell Ronaldo Vieira despite £8m windfall

The England youth international is a future star for Leeds.

Mathew Nash



Leeds United are reportedly having to fend off interest in one of their players from newly promoted Cardiff City. According to the Sun on Sunday (15/07/18, pg 59), Cardiff are keen on signing Ronaldo Vieira from Leeds this summer. A £8 million fee is even being mentioned with Neil Warnock keen on bringing the England under-21 midfielder to South Wales.

The move will no doubt tempt the player. The chance to play in the top-flight is an alluring one. It will also tempt Leeds. That amount of money could be used wisely to invest in new players, maybe even help them get the Matej Vydra or Abel Hernandez deals over the line.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

But both the player and Leeds must resist the temptation.

For Vieira, a move to Cardiff would be a mistake. He would not be a regular and his development would be impacted. Also, despite Cardiff proving many doubters wrong last season, it is hard to see the Bluebirds staying up next term. A Premier League position may only be temporary.

As for Leeds, it may be an enticing figure but Vieira could be worth much more one day. The Guine-Bissau born star only turns 20 this week and should be a player Leeds build the side around going forward, rather than letting him go.

Leeds fans are fed up of seeing their homegrown talent leave. Sam Byram, Lewis Cook, Charlie Taylor. Vieira must not join that list.

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