Chris Sutton has claimed that Leeds has an advantage over the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham in regards to use of their extended playing squad.
The Yorkshire club have been using a number of younger players following a number of absences in recent weeks, and their most recent victory away at West Ham was cause for extreme praise for manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Arsenal and Tottenham have had to cancel recent fixtures, and are now having to reschedule matches in order to complete their season, while Leeds recent performances have shown the duo up, but Sutton insists that it is easier for the Whites.
“Prior to Covid-19, Bielsa spent time coaching the younger age groups,” he told BBC Radio 5(via Leeds-Live).
“Going back to my days at Norwich City, you can imagine being a youth team player across the county and your first-team manager comes over and takes the sessions, how good does that make you feel.
“I think it’s interesting the way Leeds do things and the way Bielsa likes to work with a smaller squad and how he has faith in the young players.
“But you could argue he can work that way because there isn’t the expectation on Leeds to finish in a top-four place, where there is on the likes of Arsenal and Spurs.
“Leeds have an advantage in that respect. Bielsa likes to manage with a smaller squad and he wants to give younger places a chance and I think that bodes well.
“They’ve had [James] Milner, [Jonathan] Woodgate, Alan Smith, [Fabian] Delph and it’s been a real conveyor belt and Bielsa has carried that on.”
Arsenal have our own record of bringing youngsters into the first-team squad also, but the problem is that our better ones have already been blooded into our senior side, while many of our next generation have been allowed to leave on loan.
When many others are taking advantage of absences, you cannot blame us for delaying our most recent clash, especially when you take into account the official stance, that our current absences are due to Coronavirus issues, just not because of current positives, but recent ones still having an affect.
I agree with Sutton somewhat on his point though, if he means that the youngsters making their early appearances of their career have less pressure to perform due to the club’s expectations, while any of our youngsters may not be able to deal with trying to keep us in the hunt for a top four finish.
Are Leeds in a more favourable position to provide minutes for their academy players?