There is no doubting that last year was an incredibly successful season for Leeds United Under 23 side. Carlos Corberan’s team replicated the style of the first team and took the Professional Development League national title with some quality performances. Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton have already broken through from the youth ranks this season with Leif Davis and Aapo Halme also making their debuts but there are plenty more exciting prospects coming through Leeds United’s Academy. Let’s take a look at ten of the players who stared for the U23 side this year who could make an impact in Marcelo Bielsa’s first team next season.
Country: Belgium | DOB: 11/08/1999 | Position: Defender
Aapo Halme may have got the nod this year when Bielsa faced injuries to Jansson, Ayling and Berardi but his central defensive partner in the U23s, Pascal Struijk, is just as promising. Struijk has pedigree having been signed from this seasons Champions League semi-finalists Ajax. At 6 foot 2 inches he is a towering presence who is dominant in the air but looks just as assured with the ball at his feet. The perfect defensive player for the Bielsa system don’t be surprised to see him feature for the first team this coming season.
Country: Poland | DOB: 22/08/2001 | Position: Midfielder
The seventeen-year-old number 10 joined from Polish side Ruch Chorzow on a two and a half year deal back in January. Bogusz is regarded as an attacking midfield playmaker often playing in the number 10 position but has also played in central midfield and as a deeper laying playmaker. Having been offered a trial at Italian Serie A Side Napoli earlier in his career and scouted by Brighton, Bogusz is clearly a player with great potential and made a big impression for the U23s last season. Strong on the ball, runs at people with an eye for a pass he is certainly an exciting prospect. Of his fellow countryman Mateusz Klich said he was "going to probably be better than me", praise indeed.
Country: England | DOB: 09/11/1999 | Position: Defender/Midfielder
At the club since the age of 7, Harrogate born Robbie Gotts has Leeds United in the veins and was rewarded with a new three-year contract back in February. Originally a right back he has moved up into midfield and can play in a plethora of positions. Energetic with real pace he chips in with the goals too and it’s clear to see why he featured on the bench for the first team several times last season, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his full debut. Awarded the U23 captaincy at the back end of the season he is seen as a real leader by Carlos Corberan.
Country: England | DOB: 15/12/1998 | Position: Forward
Leeds born winger Wilks didn’t feature for the U23s last season but instead was out on loan at Doncaster Rovers plying his trade in League One impressing with 55 appearances and 16 goals and 12 assists to his name. Wilks has featured as a substitute for Leeds before under Garry Monk but is yet to make his league debut. Handed a contract extension until 2022 in January this could be his season to make the step up with Bielsa involving him with the first team in pre-season but despite his undoubted quality some fans feel he will have to up his work rate if he is to fit into a Bielsa side.
Country: England | DOB: 25/03/2000 | Position: Forward
Signed from Forest Green Rovers in February 2018, the 19 year old winger already has 9 League Two appearances in the bag and made his debut, and only appearance for Leeds, against Stoke. A creative winger, who can play either side, with a good eye for a pass. Quick and direct with a great work rate he should fit into the Bielsa system well and with one appearance already and holding the number 48 shirt last season it’s hard to believe he won’t get more chances to impress this coming season.
Young players to watch in 2019/2020 Part 2 >>
Thanks to SG90, Cjay, faaip and Chilli D for the player suggestions, check out the Leeds United Under-23's thread on our forums to join the discussion.