By Mark Smith

18th Jan, 2022 | 7:10am

Micah Richards stunned by Leeds youth player development after win v West Ham

Micah Richards has been left stunned by Leeds United and their youth development in the Premier League this season.

Lewis Bate and Leo Hjelde made their league debuts in the 3-2 win over West Ham on Sunday, playing nearly over an hour each.

Richards admitted that each of the young players can be proud, and long may the trust in youth continue at Elland Road.

Speaking live on BBC 5 Live on the Monday Night Club, Richards singled out Bate as his example at the London Stadium.

“It was tough the other day,” he said.

“Bate who came on, he actually played really well but then he got substituted and he sort of took it a little bit to heart, but it was actually a tactical decision for a little more energy.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Every player that comes through is doing themselves proud, so long may it continue because it’s difficult for young players to sustain it for that long a time, it’s good to see.”

The best.

There is no one better than Leeds or Marcelo Bielsa at trusting their youth players, we have certainly seen that this season.

Arsenal and others such as Burnley are having games called off frequently despite their under-23s playing each week and not giving any of them the chance.

What is the point of having that academy if you’re not going to hand those players a chance when they are needed? There is no room for progression.

That is why we are seeing more players like Bate, leaving the likes of Chelsea to get these opportunities, and Leeds will continue to take advantage of that.

Bielsa isn’t afraid to throw them into the deep end, and that is where we’re going to find out if they sink or swim – so far, so good.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared if the Whites are in the ‘advanced’ stages of any January signings