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Academy defender earns professional contract
Academy defender earns professional contract
Tuesday, 24th May 2011 14:32 by Tim Whelan

Fear not, the Leeds United academy at Thorp Arch is still producing talented youngsters for the club’s future.  Defender Charlie Taylor is the latest graduate to be invited to join the club’s professional ranks, and he must be highly thought of, as he’s been given a three-year contract.

Simon Grayson told the Yorkshire Post “Charlie is another player that we think has a bright future if he keeps his head down and works hard. He has a good left foot, good energy and good potential. Hopefully, this will give him a boost as well because it shows what we think of him.”

The 17-year-old, who has completed his first year as a scholar, was a near ever-present for the under-18s last season and also made nine reserve-team appearances.  Leeds have already signed the Turner twins, Nathan and Lewis, on professional contracts this summer. These two are 18, and Lewis is a defender, while Nathan plays in midfield. 

It’s good to know that the far-sighted academy system set up by Howard Wilkinson is still bearing fruit. We’ve seen how his successors did their best to waste his legacy, with Smith and Woodgate, etc, having to be sold in a vain attempt to balance the books, along with the next batch of youngsters, Lennon, Milner and Carson.

Even in the Bates era we’ve still had to sell and Danny Rose to survive financially, while the lure of selling Fabian Delph for a big fee proved to be too much to resist. Meanwhile a few other academy products were pinched by clubs in the Premiership (though not without Pappa Smurf standing his ground and ensuring we got proper compensation). During this period only Johnny Howson has hung around to become a first team regular for Leeds United.

But still they keep on coming. In addition to the three players mentioned above, Tom Lees was getting rave reviews during his loan spell at Bury and is likely to make the Leeds first team next season, while we live in hope that Aidan White will eventually make the breakthrough. Let’s hope that all these players will stick around to play for the club that nurtured their talent in the first place, and Leeds United can keep hold of the Thorp Arch facility itself.

Photo: Action Images

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