Exclusive: Whelan expecting big things on Leeds transfer front after huge development
Noel Whelan claims Leeds United will be able to attract a better calibre of player to Elland Road thanks to their newly upgraded academy status.
The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan of the Whites, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the development will improve the already impressive youth system and help the club sign talented youngsters to develop.
Leeds confirmed last week that the academy had been awarded Category One status by the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history.
📰 With great pride #LUFC can confirm our Academy has been awarded Category 1 status by the Premier League
— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 8, 2020
Whelan believes that youth recruitment could take a significant step forward thanks to the new status while also helping the youngsters already at the club test themselves at a higher level.
Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s a really proud moment for the club, the fans and everyone concerned. It’s fantastic for the academy because now it gives us the opportunity to test ourselves against international players at all these other bigger clubs.
“It gives us the option of bringing better players in as well – not that we should say that’s the right thing to do because I think you’ve got to try compete with the Liverpools, the Man Citys now but we’ve always churned out very good players.
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“The good thing about it is that players that want to come and sign for Leeds United with this category one academy, they know there’s a pathway because there’s always been a pathway. The players we’ve churned out over the years, and we’re talking decades, have always been given the chance.”
Leeds’ academy has regularly produced players for the first-team at Elland Road, with the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Jamie Shackleton regulars among the squad.
A number of academy products have also been sold to help fund the club, with Jack Clarke, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Lewis Cook and Ronaldo Vieira some of the most recent examples.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites have been tipped to finalise a handful of attacking signings.