By Noel Whelan

13th Nov, 2021 | 2:34pm

Whelan salutes 'amazing' Leeds development amid '£70m' claim after Thorp Arch reveal

England U21 manager Lee Carsley’s praise of the academy system at Leeds United is “amazing to hear”, says Noel Whelan.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted there is a “lot of work” going on behind the scenes at the Yorkshire club.

As quoted by Leeds Live (November 12th), Carsley praised the academy for doing a “great job” with the upbringing of Leeds United quartet Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood, Cody Drameh, and Charlie Cresswell.

The former Everton midfielder also admitted he “really likes” the set-up at Thorp Arch, having visited “a couple of times”.

The four Leeds United youngsters and Lewis Bate have all featured for England’s U20 and U21 age groups in recent months.

Whelan insisted the “pathway” at Elland Road is “bearing fruit” as the conveyor belt of youthful first-teamers continues.

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“I think it’s not only Leeds United fans who are recognising what’s happening within the academy,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“There’s a lot of work going into developing these young men coming through the academy and into the first team.

“It makes it even sweeter to hear Lee Carsley recognising that as well. It’s amazing to hear these young guys getting recognition because it means the process is successful.

“Sometimes you don’t have to go out and spend £60m, £70m, when you have that pathway which can bring players through gradually.

“That pathway is really bearing fruit now as we are seeing a lot of youngsters in the first team.”

Gelhardt has made the biggest impression at Leeds United. He burst onto the scene to win a penalty with a mazy run against Wolves last month.

Cresswell has also featured in the senior side this term, making three appearances.

In other news, Phillips tells Radrizzani to put his money where his mouth is as Leeds plot January raid.