Leeds display youth emphasis with pursuit of League Two ace also wanted by Prem rivals

Date published: Thursday 13th January 2022 3:20 - Ciaran McCarthy

Benny Couto, Oldham Athletic, December 2021.

Leeds United have put a lot of emphasis on youth development of late, and the reported pursuit of Oldham Athletic youngster Benny Couto showcases that once again.

The Whites have made a number of promising youth signings in recent years. Indeed, there is a clear emphasis on developing the academy sides.

Players such as Joe Gelhardt, Lewis Bate and Sam Greenwood have all been recently signed.

Covid-19 complications at many clubs have meant that having a well developed Under-23 side is important.

That, coupled with an injury crisis at Leeds, has led to many of the youngsters playing regular minutes in the first team this season.

As such, continuing to beef up their ranks is important for the Whites. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are currently pursuing Couto, from Oldham, per HITC.

The 18-year-old has made 13 League Two appearances this season, scoring one goal and assisting two more.

The youngster has been deployed at both left-back and left-midfield. His versatility, as well as maturity at such a young age, are likely attractive assets to Leeds.

Couto seems to be a promising young talent, and one that Leeds are keen on taking to Elland Road.

However, Wolves have also registered an interest. The Prem pair are set to go head-to-head in battle for the signature of the League Two star.

Couto would join promising academy

Joe Gelhardt Leeds

Should Couto join Leeds, he would be an addition to the already promising academy side at Elland Road. Indeed, Gelhardt is one of a number of youth stars to make the step up to the Premier League this season.

He has impressed in the academy this season, scoring seven goals in nine games. The forward has managed to continue that form in his senior appearances, scoring one goal and assisting a further three in the Premier League.

But Noel Whelan feels that Gelhardt’s recent injury is a massive blow to the side.

“This is huge. He’ll be a massive miss for Leeds because he’s playing with no fear. He’s a player who can really drive and take the game to opposition defensives,” he said.

Leeds will hope he, along with other injured players, can return to the side sooner rather than later.

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