Why Leeds United have struck gold with new deals for star U23 trio
According to Leeds Live, Leeds United have secured the futures of their star U-23 trio consisting of Patrick Struijk, Bryce Hosannah and Kun Temenuzhkov, with all the three aforementioned starlets putting pen to paper on new deals to extend their stay at Elland Road.
Struijk, Hosannah and Temenuzhkov were all part of Leeds United’s U-23 side managed by Carlos Corberan that won the PDL Northern League title last season and the Whites have moved quickly to reward their development with new contracts.
Struijk, who started his career at ADO Den Haag and rose through the academy ranks at Ajax, made his move to West Yorkshire back in January 2018 and has been on the fringes of the first-team ever since, while featuring regularly for the U-23 elite development side.
Born in Belgium to parents of Dutch descent, Struijk represented The Netherlands at the U-17 level prior to his arrival at Leeds.
The centre-back was one of the stars of the U-23 title-winning side the last term and has already hit the ground running this season, scoring twice and guiding his team to four clean sheets in five appearances.
Hosannah, on the other hand, joined Leeds from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2017 after featuring for the Eagles’ U-18 side. The 20-year-old right-back, who can also fill in on the left-hand side of the backline, has had his fair share of troubles with injuries but he is a sure starter for the U-23s when fit.
Perhaps the most impressive of the lot is Temenuzhkov, who made his senior professional bow for the Whites against QPR in an FA Cup third-round tie back in January 2019 besides starring for Corberan’s U-23 side.
The Bulgarian youth international, who joined Leeds in 2017 from Barcelona’s youth programme, has impressed with his versatility to play in different attacking positions and continues to be an exciting prospect for the future.
The news of the new deals for the U-23 trio comes following two other highly-rated academy starlets, Stuart McKinstry and Charlie Cresswell, signing their first professional contracts with the club.
Midfielder McKinstry and centre-back Cresswell have both made the step up to the Whites’ U-23 side this term and the Yorkshire giants have managed to tie them down to professional terms without any delay.
To put things into perspective, Leeds United have made a strong statement of intent with new deals for their U-23 trio of Struijk, Hosannah and Temenuzhkov, while the decision to reward McKinstry and Cresswell with professional terms also looks like a step in the right direction.
The Whites have taken significant strides to bolster their academy with some top-quality young talents under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and Director of Football Victor Orta, with the club conducting a thorough recruitment drive to pluck out bright emerging prospects from all corners of the globe.
Leeds have clearly put in a lot of work behind the scenes to establish a clear pathway from the youth ranks to the first-team, with Bielsa never hesitant to put his trust in youngsters if they are good enough to do the job.
Two of the three aforementioned players- Temenuzhkov and Struijk have been brought in from the youth academies of Barcelona and Ajax, which have a worldwide reputation for blooding young talents.
Given that both the players have adapted seamlessly in the development ranks at Elland Road, the Whites can certainly afford to look at them as potential stars for the future.
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Leeds already boast of an envious pool of young talents consisting of Mateusz Bogusz, Rafa Mujica, Will Huffer, Leif Davis, Jamie Shackleton, Liam McCarron and Alfie McCalmont, just to name a few.
The decision to offer new deals to the U-23 trio is yet another indication of the club’s renewed faith in youngsters.