Leeds United invested heavily into their U23s this summer.
Joe Gelhardt, Cody Drameh, Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville were all signed for decent fees, and the club will be hoping to get a decent return on their investment in the years to come.
United’s U23s have been brilliant over the past few years, lifting the PDL National Title back in 2019, while a number of young stars such as Jamie Shackleton and Leif Davis have gone on to make first-team appearances over the past two years.
However, that was all under the tutelage of Carlos Corberan, and his good work at U23 level earnt him a shot at senior management as he left Leeds this summer to take over as Huddersfield Town’s new manager.
That left Leeds in a predicament, they needed a replacement to carry on the Spaniard’s good work, and in the end, they decided to promote U18s manager Mark Jackson.
So, can we expect Jackson to carry on the good work Corberan started? All the signs seem to point towards the answer being yes.
Corberan may have won the PDL National Title at U23 level, but just a year prior, Jackson’s U18s were winning the PDL North league title, so he clearly has the ability to turn his sides into winners.
Away from his successes with the U18s, his peers can’t speak highly enough of him, with Paul Hart, the man who handed him his first coaching job at Leeds, giving him a glowing review.
“When I was there [at Leeds] the last time, I was aware that he was around and I have tremendous respect for him so I employed him as a coach.
“He was fantastic, I have complete trust in him. Good values, honest and just a thoroughly reliable guy.
“As a coach, he was well prepared, handled the detail, worked hard, eager to learn, everything you want.”
When Jackson first took charge of the U18s in 2016, he did it alongside former teammate Andy Gray, and he also had some kind words to say about Jackson’s coaching ability.
“He was very good, very organised, knew the game, very good with the players and getting the best out of them,” said Gray.
“He’s suited to the role in terms of developing players – he’s had a hand in helping the likes of Jamie Shackleton and Robbie Gotts get into the first team. He’s been hard but fair with them, you know where you stand. He gets his point across really well. It’s a logical next step up for him and one he’ll do very well in.”
With Leeds finally back in the top-flight, the players they develop will have to be of a very high-standard if they want to get into the first-team, and if Jackson does his job well, his efforts could be huge in United’s quest for sustained success at the Premier League level.