Leeds United Under-18s coach Richard Naylor has told his players to follow the example set by Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Tom Lees when they begin their FA Youth Cup campaign tonight.
Leeds are preparing to host Reading in the third round and will be watched by first-team manager Brian McDermott as they attempt to repeat last season’s creditable run.United’s title-winning Under-18s reached round five before losing to Liverpool in a tight and competitive match at Anfield.
Mowatt captained Leeds on Merseyside and has since gone on to establish himself in their first team, and Chris Dawson’s (right) senior debut came less than two months after his outing against Liverpool. Byram and Lees and others who have stepped successfully between United’s academy and their senior squad, and Naylor said: “We’re lucky to have a manager who puts kids in and is prepared to work with young players. But they’ve got to be good enough, that’s the bottom line.
“If they have the right attitude, they work hard and display their ability then the manager will put them in. Alex Mowatt’s a prime example if that, along with Sam Byram and Tom Lees.
“They all went through the same process and it’s there for these kids to aim at.”
This evening’s game at Elland Road kicks off at 7pm with tickets priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.