Leeds United are a club with a certain level of renown at blooding youngsters in the first-team set-up. The Whites are certainly not afraid to bring through their own/bought talented youngsters.
One only has to look at the successes of bringing through Kalvin Phillips, who the fans refer to as the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’, for evidence of the success of youth at Elland Road. Add to that the successes with Jack Clarke, who was sold to Spurs for £10million and the breaking through of Jamie Shackleton and the evidence is right there in front of you.
That’s even overlooking the pushings of players like Jordan Stevens and Leif Davies from the Under-23s to the brink of the first XI and other exciting players in Carlos Corberan’s U23s such as young Pole Mateusz Bogusz.
The Whites are now said to be interested in adding another highly-regarded youngster to their ranks in England Under-16 starlet Ben Chrisene – something written about here on The72 earlier.
— Scouts in Attendance (@scoutsattending) December 3, 2019
With the background that Leeds United have, and the confidence that they have in promoting young players into age groups above what they qualify for, then such ‘interest’ isn’t that hard to grasp. However, the fact that there is ‘interest’ from the Whites doesn’t automatically mean that this is sole interest from the West Yorkshire side.
The Whites are in an interest tug-o-war with Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool. The Blues have already entertained the exciting 15-year-old midfield talent at their Cobham training facility and it was reported earlier this season by The Sun’s Alan Nixon that current Champions League holders Liverpool had “leapt to the front of the race” for the Exeter City player.
As well as England youth caps, Chrisene is also the youngest player to play for Exeter City, coming on as a late substitute in a 4-1 Carabao Cup loss to Coventry City; he’s since gone on to make three substitute appearances in the Leasing.com Trophy.
This prompted the Devon club’s manager Matt Taylor to say of Chrisene’s potential: “He’s going to play at the top level, it’s as simple as that. What that top level is for Ben, he’s 15 years old, I can’t tell you that yet. But I think he’ll play at a top, top standard of football.”
Leeds United are the latest club to show interest, Chelsea and Liverpool’s being earlier on in the season. Many would argue that the Whites registering an interest, against the likes of established Premier League sides such as Chelsea and Liverpool, is somewhat futile given the lure of playing for a side associated with top-tier football.
However, perhaps the track record of not being afraid to promote youth players quickly beyond their relevant age group could be something in Leeds United’s favour. At the moment though, it remains just nebulous interest – but that could all change come 2020 when the youngster can sign his first professional deal.