Leeds United head coach Daniel Farke has showcased a willingness to offer chances to young players if they earn their shot at first-team football.
17-year-old Archie Gray impressed the German tactician enough in pre-season to emerge as a key figure for the Whites this season and has already made 15 Championship appearances, which includes 13 starts.
The manager has proven that a lack of experience is not a barrier for any player looking to work their way into his starting XI on a regular basis, and this should encourage the current crop of academy starlets to push harder as they know that the pathway is there for them.
One U21s star who could be one of the next players to come off the production line is England youth international Mateo Joseph, who has outscored first-team forward Patrick Bamford this season.
Mateo Joseph’s season in numbers
The 20-year-old prospect has enjoyed a strong start to the 2023/24 campaign with two goals and one assist in two Premier League 2 appearances for the Whites.
Joseph, who has been on the bench for two Championship games this term, also managed one goal and one assist in the Premier League International Cup against Hertha Berlin’s second team.
His impressive return of three goals and two assists in three U21 outings this season has come after his excellent performances in front of goal last time around.
During the 2022/23 campaign, the England U20 international racked up 16 goals and two assists in 21 Premier League 2 regular season and play-off matches combined.
This shows that previous managers have seen the potential for the talented marksman to be involved as a senior option for the Yorkshire-based side.
Patrick Bamford’s season in numbers
Leeds have gone with Georginio Rutter and Joel Piroe as their first-choice attackers through the middle of the pitch this season and that has left Bamford in a limited role.
The former England international has not done enough to convince Farke that he deserves regular starts in the Championship and his performances off the bench have provided an insight into why that is.
He has produced zero goals and zero assists in eight league appearances for Leeds so far this term, which has not been through a lack of service to him as the forward has racked up 1.16 xG and missed a penalty.
This shows that the 30-year-old dud has not made the most of the opportunities that have fallen his way and, therefore, his lack of consistent minutes on the pitch is justified.
Joseph has outscored him at league level, with his two Premier League 2 strikes, and the U21s star has also found the back of the net more often than Wilfried Gnonto (one), Jaidon Anthony (one), Joe Gelhardt (zero), and Ian Poveda (zero).
The 20-year-old academy starlet’s impressive form for the youth side should not go unnoticed and it will be interesting to see whether or not Farke offers him a chance to catch the eye in the first-team over the coming weeks or months.