By George Overhill

18th Mar, 2022 | 12:10pm

Phil Hay: Leeds United Under-23s will no longer join first-team en masse under Jesse Marsch

The system that saw the Leeds United under-23s joining the first-team training squad en masse is to change under Jesse Marsch says Phil Hay.

Marcelo Bielsa would routinely include the younger elements at Thorp Arch, but the new manager subscribes to a different way of working where only particular individuals who he expects to feature for both teams will take part.

Scorer of the dramatic winning goal against Norwich Joe Gelhardt is identified as the type of candidate to continue, having featured heavily in league games already under the American.

Speaking on the Phil Hay Show podcast the reporter said: “You will see differences with the [Under]23s now, you’ll see differences in the way that they play because they will now start to move towards zonal rather than man marking.

“You’ll also find that at Thorp Arch, while there will be interaction between them and the first team, you won’t now have the set up that there was with Bielsa where huge numbers of 23s were involved constantly with the training squad.

“It’ll be selected people, like your [Joe] Gelhardt’s and so on, will figure week to week, and are now essentially first team players.

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“So there will be a switch-around there.”


It was an admirable system to have the two squads intermingling to such a degree under the previous manager.

But it didn’t necessarily yield the results that the club would have hoped for.

A lack of development from the age-group squad into the first team was believed to be a concern for the Whites board when they were considering making the managerial change.

The example of Gerhardt is instructive in that he was overlooked in favour of Tyler Roberts or Daniel James despite the injury to Patrick Bamford by the Argentine.

Since the arrival of Marsch he has already featured more than he did before the change, and his match-winning cameo last weekend is part of the reward.

There are a lot of talented youngsters at United currently, but it may be more effective to now work with this targeted approach.

In other Leeds United news, there is big contract news on the horizon for a player the club want tied down “as soon as possible”.