17 July 2024

Daniel Farke: Leeds United appoint former Norwich City boss - BBC Sport

Amid the at-times turbulent nature of Leeds United in the modern era, one constant at Elland Road has been the impressive production of young talent, with the club regularly churning out exciting assets from the academy ranks.

In the not-too-distant past, the Yorkshire giants notably reaped the rewards of promoting the likes of Alan Smith and James Milner, while more recently, a new local hero was born in the form of England international, Kalvin Phillips.

The 27-year-old racked up 234 appearances in all competitions for the Whites prior to signing for Manchester City on a £45m deal last summer, having previously been hailed as a player who “always plays well” by former boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Among the current crop, manager Daniel Farke has the likes of Jamie Shackleton and Sam Byram to call upon – two further academy graduates – with the latter man having returned to Elland Road earlier this year following spells with West Ham United and Norwich City.

That duo are also joined in the first-team ranks by arguably the most exciting young talent at the club at present in the form of Archie Gray, with the 17-year-old – who has been dubbed “phenomenal” by ex-Leeds man Jermaine Beckford – having started nine Championship games already this season.

The rise of the precocious playmaker is not only a sign of the faith Farke is willing to put into the youth set-up, but it also indicates the benefits of looking closer to home to find potential diamonds, rather than seeking out costly mistakes in the transfer market.

Who are the best young talents at Leeds United?

While not an academy product himself, one teenager who has sparked much excitement over the past year or so is Italy international, Wilfried Gnonto, with the 19-year-old having joined the club from FC Zurich on a £3.8m deal back in the summer of 2022.

Having been something of an unknown quantity at the time, the one-time Inter Milan asset quickly blossomed into a real fan favourite among the Leeds faithful, earning praise from pundit Noel Whelan, who dubbed him a “firework” for his explosive displays.

The diminutive forward ended the 2022/23 campaign as the real shining light at Elland Road with four goals and four assists in all competitions, memorably scoring in the 2-2 draw away at Old Trafford back in February.

The Verbania-born marksman has since netted once in five league appearances this time around, although that injury-hit start to the season had come after the teenager had angled for a move during the summer, after even submitting a transfer request in his attempts to force an exit

With rumours rife that a January departure could also be on the cards, it remains to be seen how long Farke will have Gnonto at his disposal, hence the need to look elsewhere to help bolster his attacking unit.

With that in mind, one emerging sensation whom the German tactician should look to promote is 19-year-old, Keenan Carole, with the versatile talent seemingly a real “star in the making”, as previously described by journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Who is Keenan Carole?

The fleet-footed winger – who can also operate at left-back if required – is seemingly “one to watch” in the youth set-up, according to O’Rourke, as he possesses that knack for beating his man with ease down the flanks, while having the end product to boot.

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