Jason Blunt quits role as Leeds United development squad coach

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Leeds United are back in the market for a new development squad coach after Jason Blunt quit the role to take up an academy job in Cornwall.

Blunt will leave Thorp Arch at the end of next month after one full season as Under-23s boss to head up a new footballing academy in the south of England.

The former Leeds midfielder, who was born in Penzance, took charge of United’s development squad after ex-academy director Paul Hart parted company with the club in March of last year.

Leeds’ Under-23s endured a difficult campaign this season, finishing bottom of their development league, and Blunt, whose son Connor is a youth-team midfielder at Thorp Arch, has opted to move on.

The 39-year-old is joining Mousehole AFC, a non-league club based in Penzance who play in Division One West of the South West Peninsula League.

United said the process of finding a replacement for Blunt was being led by academy manager Adam Underwood and new director of football Victor Orta.

A club statement read: “Leeds United can confirm that Under-23s head coach Jason Blunt has elected to leave the club at the end of July.

“Jason has been a key member of the academy staff for seven years and everyone at Leeds United wishes him well for the future. Adam Underwood and Victor Orta will begin the search for a replacement immediately.”

The job of development squad coach at Leeds has changed hands regularly in the past few years.

Neil Redfearn occupied the role prior to his resignation in the summer of 2015 and Hart – a key figure in United’s academy in the 1990s – coached the Under-23s for less than 12 months.

Leeds’ new owner, Andrea Radrizzani, recently indicated that changes at Thorp Arch were planned following his takeover of United and the appointment to the board of Ivan Bravo, the head of the Aspire Academy in Qatar.

Radrizzani told the YEP: “With Ivan Bravo joining the board we have an important executive who specialises in youth academies. He’s been working for six years in Qatar to build one of the best academies I’ve seen in my entire life at Aspire.

“I’m confident that co-operation with Aspire will help Leeds to bring out more talent in the future.”

Despite their non-league status, Mousehole are pursuing what they called a “pioneering initiative” by forming an academy and Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), in line with Football League clubs.

Blunt said: “We’re certainly breaking new ground and we mean business. I’m excited by the challenge to make this new academy the best in Cornwall and the South West.”

United, meanwhile, are set to confirm their pre-season schedule in the next 24 hours despite the absence of a head coach at Elland Road.

Radrizzani is in the process of recruitment a new first-team boss to replace Garry Monk but the club are a fortnight away from the start of pre-season training and have put fixtures in place in advance of an appointment.

Leeds were considering a tour of Austria while Monk was in charge and the club are expected to confirm a number of foreign fixtures as part of their summer schedule.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture by Simon Hulme

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