WITH the first team gaining so many plaudits, it can be easy to over-look the up-coming starlets that could help make Leeds United a great side for years to come yet.
‘Hatfield has grafted through the club's academy and has been handed his first professional contract. A multi-skilled sportsman, he’s equally at home on a cricket pitch as he is a football pitch.’
However, there are several such footballers who have been catching the eye.
First up is Sanchez Payne. The locally-born midfielder has well and truly worked his way through the system and has been making waves amongst the coaching staff.
He first joined the club as a 12-year old schoolboy and was rewarded with a professional contract during the summer of 2010.
Last season he managed to get on the score sheet for the reserves too. His first goal came in the fierce West Yorkshire derby against Bradford City; a sweet fixture to register in. Exciting things are expected of this lad and the word is, you should watch this space.
Another midfielder to keep tabs on is Will Hatfield. As a 2000 schoolboy, he has since grafted through the club's academy and has also been handed his first professional contract. A multi-skilled sportsman, he’s equally at home on a cricket pitch as he is a football pitch. Hatfield was playing for the under-18s while still at school and now has the honour of captaining the reserve side that clinched the league title last season. Currently, he’s out on loan at York gaining some vital first-team experience and hoping to build on his impressive progress.
A return to the glory days may still be a way away but the future is very much brighter for United. An outstanding season so far sees the latest bunch of players facing a very realistic chance of promotion.
If the first team continue their form, you may see these talented youths plying their trade against the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Van Der Vaart.
If Leeds can keep hold of them, of course.