Born and Bred - How Leeds United might line up if they adopted Athletic Bilbao's local recruitment policy
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa’s former side Athletic Bilbao will play in their second Copa del Rey final in a matter of weeks on Saturday night.
As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, last year’s Spanish cup final was delayed until the beginning of this month, with Bilbao ultimately losing that match 1-0 to local rivals Real Sociedad.
Bielsa's old club will get a second bite of the cherry this weekend, however, when they compete in the 2021 final against Barcelona.
It’s a unique situation for the Basque club, and one that is, as ever, made even more fascinating by their adherence to a recruitment policy that essentially dictates that the vast majority of their players must have been born or trained in the surrounding area.
It’s a self-imposed limitation which the club continues to excel under, and one that Bielsa himself dealt with during his two-year spell with the club in La Liga.
Coincidentally, his most famous achievement during that stint saw him lead Bilbao to a Copa del Rey final in 2012, only for them to lose 3-0 to Pep Guardiola's star-studded Barcelona side.
The Argentine was still lauded for his run to the final, however, and given Bilbao’s bizarre second shot at the trophy this weekend, it got us thinking about how Leeds might lineup if they themselves chose to only field players who were born in the city itself.
We’ve gathered up a starting XI of local talent – click and scroll through the pages below to see who makes the cut...