One thing that Leeds United do well is youth. It wasn’t always this way, the youth set-ups being allowed to grow ragged under the stewardship of Massimo Cellino. That’s the past though.
The future began under Andrea Radrizzani, with Leeds’ then-new owner promising to rebuild the youth set-up at Elland Road. He’s stuck to his word, reversing the sweeping changes and decimation wrought under Cellino.
Promising youngsters were brought in from top sides on the continent as Leeds looked to rebuild. These youngsters, from clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, played alongside a reinvigorated domestic youth cohort. It’s a strategy that paid dividends.
Both the Under-18s and Under-23s won their respective leagues last season and once again youth is appearing regularly in the first-team squad. For example, such was the impact of Jack Clarke’s breakout season that Tottenham Hotspur paid £10million for the winger, before loaning him back to the Whites.
With the improved set-up at Thorp Arch, it is inevitable that other sides will be circling the Whites, eager to take advantage. That appears to be the case with Callum Nicell:
Nicell appeared in a Leicester City XI who took on Hednesford Town on Friday night, as confirmed by Hednesford’s official tweeting of the teamsheet for the match between the two.
Tonight's teams. pic.twitter.com/3IF2pYslBo
— Hednesford Town FC (@Hednesford_Town) July 19, 2019
Nicell played the full game for the Premier League side’s scratch side, with the Foxes losing 1-0 on the night. Nicell played a key part in the successes of Carlos Corberan’s Under-23s at the West Yorkshire club last season, the young Whites ending their season not only winning their Professional Development League 2 Northern division, but capturing the national title too.
In one respect, it would represent a strange transfer in that Nicell only signed a deal last year, one that would take him up to the end of June 2020. Alternatively, Leicester City might have seen something they like in the Leeds United youngster and are wanting a closer look before making a decision.