Leeds United boss Daniel Farke is unhappy with Archie Gray’s involvements for England’s U19s side during the international break.
Leeds United fans have a new favourite player in Gray. The 17-year-old has emerged in the first-team this season, and despite his age and inexperience, he’s quickly becoming a key player for Farke.
Gray though played three full games of football for the England U19s during the international break, and much to the discontent of Farke who questions whether playing youth games at international level is really necessary for a player’s development.
Speaking to The Athletic ahead of a weekend trip to Norwich City, Farke said:
“You want a discussion about what is important at youth level. Is it important to win titles and trophies? Or is it important to develop young players? We need a discussion on this topic.
“If it’s important to win titles and points, then yes, you have to play Archie in these games. If you think about the development as a player, I would question this.
“It’s important for developing his personality and his game, to play day in day out, on a weekly basis at this (Championship) level. First-team football, games in front of a packed Elland Road or difficult away grounds — this makes him better as a player. It also develops his personality. I would question if games at youth level improve him as a player.”
“I’m not sure if it makes sense to play him in that many games. It doesn’t help with his development because he plays at a higher level, with all respect to the Under-19s. We risk injuries, we risk that he’s burned out.”
Gray has now played 16 games in all competitions this season, having played in all 11 of Leeds’ opening Championship fixtures, twice in the Carabao Cup, and then three times for England U19s within the space of just six days.
Leeds United unhappy…
Farke has every right to be unhappy. No matter whether it’s an experienced player or a youth player like Gray, and no matter what level it’s at, three games in six days in the middle of a long-haul Championship season is a lot of football.
Gray now looks set to be rested for what is a tricky game at Carrow Road this weekend and with Farke looking to get one over his former club, not having an important player in Gray will be very annoying for him.
Gray may yet play a part. But given how much football he’s already played this season, it seems very likely that he’ll be rested for this one.
Leeds go into this one in decent form and in a decent position in the Championship table, sitting in 5th compared to Norwich City in 7th who’ve lost three of their last five in the league.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm.