Noel Whelan has been left raving over the Leeds United youth set-up after the confirmed signing of young forward Sam Greenwood from Arsenal.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road believes the club’s proven record of player development is a big lure for promising talent to join the club.
Leeds confirmed on Friday that the 18-year-old striker has completed his move from the Gunners and put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Elland Road.
✍️ #LUFC are pleased to announce the arrival of Sam Greenwood from fellow Premier League side Arsenal
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 28, 2020
As previously revealed by Football Insider, the teenager, who can play as a winger and a number 10 as well as a centre-forward, has cost the Whites an initial £1.5million.
Whelan believes that players like Greenwood realise there is a well-trodden pathway from the youth ranks to the senior side at Elland Road and that it makes a “big difference” in signing hot prospects.
Whelan told Football Insider: “I think it’s the setup, the coaches that they have there, the history of bringing players through their academy system which will tempt these players to come to Leeds United.
“They’ve always had a very, very good percentage of young players coming through that system and becoming established professionals – going back to my time, Alan Smith’s time, even after that, we’ve always brought young players through.
“Your Sam Byrams, your Alex Mowatts, these players have come through the system and made a life for themselves as a Premier League or Championship player.
“I think that is the temptation there for these players, they know they’re going to get the opportunity and that pathway through to first-team football. That makes a big difference.”
Greenwood came through the youth system at Sunderland before he swapped Wearside for north London in 2018.
He joins the likes of Cody Drameh, Charlie Allen and Dani van de Heuvel as new signings for the club’s under-23s this summer.
In other Leeds United news, a forward has been tipped to become an Elland Road favourite as a £10million-plus bid is readied.