According to an exclusive report from Phil Hay of The Athletic, Leeds United’s academy is set to be granted category one status by the Premier League.
Over the years, some of the finest young talents have represented the senior side from the academy. The likes of Kalvin Phillips, who is closing in on his 200th appearance for the Yorkshire club, is a product of the club’s academy. He is now arguably one of the best defensive midfielders in the Championship.
Since Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival at the Yorkshire club, the Argentine has regularly used players from the under-23 squad, handing senior debuts to no fewer than 13 academy players.
Hay claims that once Leeds achieve the category one status, the club’s youth-development scheme will join the top tier of English academies for the first time after passing an audit under the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).
Bielsa has played a major role in it. Under his guidance, Leeds have made upgrades on their Thorp Arch training ground in Wetherby.
The present set-up was reassessed by Premier League auditors after the turn of the year and it left them impressed.
Leeds spend around £4 million on their academy each year. As a result of their new status, they will receive an increased central revenue for youth development.
The club’s under-23s are expected to compete in Premier League Two next season. It also opens the door for Leeds to apply to enter the Leasing.com Trophy and could allow their youngsters to compete in European competitions too.
Many Leeds fans have taken to Twitter to express their reactions. Here are some of the selected tweets:
Amazing news! The future is bright. #lufc
— LUFC💙💛 (@JoshmoodyLUFC7) July 7, 2020
Does this broaden the geographical area we can sign young players from?
— BelieverInBielsa💙💛 (@MultiJono88) July 7, 2020
Fair recognition for the quality of the facilities and the youth players they produce
— Wayne Mc (@wcelhatton) July 7, 2020
— Lee Thompson (@lufcThommo) July 7, 2020
Great news. At the end of the day even our players that don’t make it can be sold onto small clubs near us like Sheffield’s and Huddersfield. The future is bright, the future is white!
— LeedsUnitedUSA (@LeedsUnitedUSA) July 8, 2020
Great news this. Shows how much the culture is changing and the organization is growing.
— (AtT) | tBYP Hawk (@TBYPHawk) July 7, 2020
So we get a B team in EFL trophy. If Bielsa stays around that u23s team could be strong. If Mesiler Strjuk Davis McMalmont Gotts Poveda Stevens Bogsuz Edomondson
— Craig Hewitt (@cjlufc) July 7, 2020
Fantastic news..we've done well with hard work and effort..from all levels and it all starts at our level with the Scouting network's, and Development centres, then Shadow squads and Academy..💙💛🤍👌 #MOT
— Graham Quinn (@geequeue) July 7, 2020
Another step forward.🙂
— Bielsa for Premier🏆 (@aclr1972) July 7, 2020
Great work by a Bielsa
— Daniel Rawson (@drawsonleeds) July 7, 2020
Great news. This was Ortas dream from the start wasn’t it? To have a steady stream of youth players coming through the racks but also to sell on for a profit to.
— BARNEY 🦚🄺🄿 (@BarneyLUFC21) July 7, 2020