Youngsters in Leeds United's DNA, says Daniel Farke, despite frustrations over Wembley inexperience

Daniel Farke says Leeds United need more experience next season, but insists it is in the club's “DNA” to bring through youngsters.

A youthful side were punished for one defensive lapse in Sunday's Championship play-off final, when Adam Armstrong pounced on a moment of defensive disorganisation to score the only goal.

At 27, former Barnsley loanee Armstrong was older than all but two Leeds players on the pitch at the time, and his 398 senior appearances was considerably more even than Junior Firpo and Glen Kamara have made.

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Farke, who sidelined captain Liam Cooper this season, loaned out his deputy Luke Ayling to Middlesbrough (he has since joined permanently), lost Stuart Dallas to a career-ending injury and Patrick Bamford for the play-offs to a knee problem, frequently cited his side's inexperience during the run-in.

But he also stressed the importance of bringing through young players, as Leeds did last season with 18-year-old Archie Gray and 20-year-old Mateo Joseph.

"When it comes down to a final and grinding out a result pragmatically, experience always helps," argued Farke. "Armstrong was in a situation like that before and he's not nervous, not over-excited, just focused and clinical.

"This is the reason Real Madrid are more or less always in the Champions League final."

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YOUNG GUNS: (Left to right) Archie Gray, Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter have been key figures for Leeds United this season despite their youthYOUNG GUNS: (Left to right) Archie Gray, Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter have been key figures for Leeds United this season despite their youth
YOUNG GUNS: (Left to right) Archie Gray, Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter have been key figures for Leeds United this season despite their youth

After missing promotion to the Premier League, Leeds will face a fight to keep Gray, who started 43 of their 49 Championship and play-off games and came off the bench in another four.

Namedropped in March by Gareth Southgate as a future England player, Bayern Munich are the latest club said to be showing an interest in the teenager ahead of a summer where Leeds must raise revenue without damaging their promotion hopes.

Wales manager gave Leeds further encouragement on Wednesday when he gave 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Crew – a first senior call-up for June friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia.

And Farke, who saw Leeds under-18s reach the FA Youth Cup final this month with Crew a key figure, believes the club must continue to bring through their own players.

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"This is a bit like our DNA," he said. "We have a pretty young side and we knew that in comparison to our competitors at the top end of the Championship we are probably the most youthful, inexperienced sides. We knew this.

"It doesn't take anything away that we still wanted to reach the Promised Land.

"If you go pretty deep and analyse it, a bit more experience would have definitely helped to have Patrick Bamford available for such a game but it was not meant to be.

"I'm far away from giving the inexperience of Cree (Summerville), Georgie (Rutter), Archie or whoever the blame.

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"It's more like we feel the disappointment, we will take the positives out of the situation but also try to look at the things we can improve and one of those things is a bit more experience.

"The players who were involved will be more experienced next season."

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