How Leeds could’ve lined up if they hadn’t sold their academy stars

With Jack Clarke’s move to Tottenham Hotspur all but done, Leeds United fans have watched another young talent slip through the net before ever fulfilling his potential at Elland Road.

The Whites have had some seriously talented players pass through their ranks in recent years, and if they had managed to keep them all their line-up would undoubtedly make for interesting reading.

If United still had these stars they would arguably have a starting XI that would be ready-made for the Premier League, so let’s take a look at what their team next season would look like if their former youth prospects who have departed in recent years had remained at the club.

With Leeds having their best league finish since their relegation in 2004 last term, it isn’t surprising that the majority of that squad remains.

Kiko Casilla retains his spot between the sticks as the Yorkshire club’s academy hasn’t produced a top class goalkeeper since Paul Robinson almost 20 years ago.

The centre-back pairing also remains the same with Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper being arguably the best defensive duo Leeds have had in over a decade, finishing up as thee third best defence in the league last term.

The full-back positions are where it gets interesting. Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor replace Luke Ayling and Barry Douglas in the starting XI in this side.

Byram was touted as a future star when he was at Leeds, and although he hasn’t quite reached that potential, he is good enough to start for this United side.

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Meanwhile, Charlie Taylor was a consistent starter for Burnley in the Premier League in 2018/19, and he would certainly improve the Whites’ backline if he were still with the Yorkshire outfit.

Luckily for Leeds one of their best academy products in recent years is still at the club, and he also starts in this team. Kalvin Phillips is undoubtedly one of the best players to feature at Elland Road in recent years, and with the Whites apparently valuing him at £30m he may be here for a while yet.

The most recent Player of the Season winner Pablo Hernandez keeps his spot, while the soon to be departing Jack Clarke operates on the opposite wing.

Two former players take up midfield roles. One-cap England international Lewis Cook comes into the side, while AC Milan-linked Ronaldo Vieira partners him in the midfield.

Last season’s top scorer Kemar Roofe retains his spot up top as the Yorkshire club haven’t been blessed with an incredible striker in their youth ranks in recent years.

Article title: How Leeds could’ve lined up if they hadn’t sold their academy stars

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