Youngsters provide base for Leeds to rise again

Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
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NEIL REDFEARN has reiterated his message that Leeds United must hold on to their promising brood of youngsters by declaring: “It would be a disaster if you started selling them.”

The Elland Road club have a big summer ahead with the future of head coach Redfearn having been in doubt since assistant Steve Thompson was suspended before Easter.

United are yet to indicate to the 49-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of June, whether they want him to stay or not.

Under former Academy chief Redfearn, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor have blossomed into first-team regulars.

Sam Byram, handed his debut in 2012, has also returned to the form that made him Leeds’s Player of the Year in his first season, while Kalvin Phillips has made the breakthrough in recent weeks.

Rivals clubs have, understandably, been scouting the youngsters and Redfearn, whether he stays or goes, insists everything must be done to retain the Academy graduates.

The Leeds head coach said: “For me, if you want a club to be successful then I think it would be a disaster if you started selling your young players.

“It is a really important part of Leeds United rising again because they are the base. The idea of blooding them, giving them experience and giving them a feel for it in a difficult season is to put that base in place.

“It is not to put that base in place to sell them. The idea is to keep it.

“To be fair, all the stuff that has been said to me through the season when I have spoken to the owner or to (chairman) Andrew Umbers is that the kids are not for sale.

“I have got to take them on their word. You want that to be the truth. If that is the truth then we keep them and we build on it.”

Along with the youngsters, Redfearn believes United should also be making strides to retain Rodolph Austin, whose own deal expires this summer.