Official: Leeds to make major recruitment drive next month
By Alex Stevens
Leeds are planning a big recruitment drive next month as they aim to strengthen their youth set-up and find the next Ronaldo Vieira or Charlie Taylor.
The Championship promotion hopefuls announced on their official website on Monday their academy will hold open trials in mid-April.
There will be a day of trials for the school years one to seven on Tuesday, 11 April, and then another day of trials for the older age groups of eight to 11 on Wednesday, 12 April.
“The purpose of the event is to potentially recruit any promising players to our academy system,” a statement read on the Leeds website.”
The senior Leeds team are flying high under the stewardship of Garry Monk and his astute number two Pep Clotet but performances have been wretched this season among the club’s youth teams.
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Both the Under-23s and Under-18s are bottom of their respective divisions, securing just five wins apiece from 20 matches.
The development squad, managed by Jason Blunt, have not won for 12 matches, with their horror run stretching back to their last victory in November.
The Under-18s have fared little better following a forced coaching reshuffle at the end of last year, in which ex-coach Mark Gray quit over a pay row to leave former Leeds defender Mark Jackson in sole charge.
But the Leeds academy has an excellent reputation for developing players for the club’s first team, with Taylor, Vieira and Kalvin Phillips all establishing themselves in the current senior side after graduating from the academy.
Lewis Cook and Sam Byram followed the same path before quitting for big-money transfers to Premier League clubs last year.
Meanwhile, Leeds senior side are back in action on Tuesday evening when they travel to mid-table side Brentford for a Championship fixture.
Monk’s team are fifth in the division with a haul of 69 points from 39 matches and aiming to nail down a top-six finish.
They are also looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 1-0 league defeat to Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.