The 3-0 FA Cup “embarrassment” at the hands of Crawley Town on Sunday proved that some Leeds United academy graduates are simply not up to scratch.
That is according to former Elland Road forward and boyhood Whites fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs after Leeds’ were humiliated in the third-round of the cup.
Marcelo Bielsa put out a strong team to face the side 54 places below Leeds in the English football pyramid, but there were opportunities given to a handful of young faces.
And Whelan believes that Leeds’ youngsters, along with the rest of the team, put on a woeful perforance in what was a mortifying end to their FA Cup ambitions.
“I’m all for looking to the future but we’ve got to start thinking about now,” he told Football Insider.
“Sunday showed that there’s a couple of players out there that, even though they’ve come through the 23s, they’re off the pace. [Oliver] Casey getting skinned down the right-hand side, not being able to keep up.
“We’ve got nice players, nice centre-halves, nice footballers, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, we can’t do it.
“Honestly, to create one chance in 90 minutes against a League Two side and concede three goals is shocking.
“I was really looking forward to having a good cup run. I felt that this year because it’s that strange, anything could happen. There could have been a gateway there into Europe.
“They’ve let themselves down. It’s an embarrassment.”
Twenty-year-old centre-back Casey was one of six Leeds academy graduates to feature on Sunday.
Kalvin Phillips, Pascal Struijk, Leif Davis and Jamie Shackleton started while Casey and Jack Jenkins came off the bench at half-time.