Leeds United must be careful not to overload their team with youngsters as doing so could jeopardise the progress of the past few years.
That is according to ex-Whites goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Leeds released their ‘Season by Numbers’ report last Sunday.
The report showed that Leeds’ youngest player in 2020-21 was Niall Huggins, 20, who made just one 37-minute substitute appearance.
But Leeds’ under-23s were crowned Premier League 2 Division 2 champions in April and have a squad bursting with precocious talent.
The likes of Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood have particularly impressed but not made the step up to senior football.
Meanwhile, Ian Poveda and Jame Shackleton, both 21, were used only sparingly by Marcelo Bielsa over the course of the campaign.
Kenny warned Leeds not to prioritise developing youngsters over the here-and-now, claiming it would be better to send youth players out on loan.
“Leeds have had an unbelievable season,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“They’ve got to to be careful not to chuck too many youngsters in at once because they don’t wanna stop the progression they’re trying to make.
“For me, you’ve got to build them up and hopefully some of them will make it. Obviously, some of them won’t.
“Do you throw them in and start losing games? Then you might have to drop them and have a bad start to the season. You’ve got to be really careful with these young lads.
“Leeds are a Premier League club now. It’s not like the Championship where you’ve got a bit more leeway to throw youngsters in. You’ve got to be a bit more selective.
“More loans would be a better option. Game-time when you’re a young player is so important.”