LEEDS United head coach Neil Redfearn has admitted it would be “a disaster” to sell youngsters Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram or Charlie Taylor in the summer.
The classy quartet have all graduated from United’s Academy and Redfearn says the four players could form the base to the rising of a club that has been outside of English football’s top flight for 11 years.
There are fears that all four will be targeted by would-be-suitors in the summer - especially amongst such a period of uncertainty at Elland Road - but Redfearn says it is of paramount importance that the quartet stay - and that new recruits are brought in to help strengthen the side in the summer.
Redfearn still has no idea if he will be head coach next season, despite his contract ending in just over two weeks’ time when Leeds host Rotherham United in their final Championship game of the season.
United’s president Massimo Cellino is disqualified from his position as Leeds owner until the day after that fixture but, with or without him, Redfearn is already making his message to keep the club’s youngsters loud and clear.
Fifteenth-placed Leeds visit 12th-placed Charlton Athletic in a real end of season dead rubber on Saturday but there are much more important issues to be addressed and Redfearn told the YEP: “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.
“I think that all the promises that were made about planning and building, what you don’t want them to be is lies. You want that to be the truth.
“If that’s the truth then we keep them and we build on it.
“It’s a really important part of Leeds United rising again because they are the base.
“The idea of blooding them and giving them experience and giving them a feel for this season in a difficult season is to put that base in place.
“It’s 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 Andrew Umbers is that the kids are not for sale.
“I’ve got to take them on their word.”
Redfearn is also keen to stress that United’s youngsters would have no chance of getting Leeds promoted without adding new recruits, admitting: “I’ve said before how important recruitment is and you’ve got to get that bit right and that is important.
“If you recruit well, and you’ve got these top, top young players to play with them, then you’ve got a chance.
“If you don’t recruit well then it’s two steps forwards and four back, simple as that.”