Carlos Corberan said a shared philosophy between Leeds United’s academy and Marcelo Bielsa’s first team was aiding the development of players after Jack Clarke became the latest youngest to make his senior debut.
Clarke, 17, followed Jamie Shackleton in earning his first outing under Bielsa this season by coming off the bench during the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford.
The winger was given his chance after a number of appearances on the bench and impressed with a short cameo which helped Leeds claim an 88th-minute equaliser at Elland Road.
Corberan began coaching Leeds’ Under-23s last season and Clarke turned professional on his watch, agreeing senior terms in November. Bielsa moved Corberan into a first-team role over the summer but the Spaniard has maintained a link with the development squad and has been given responsibility for ensuring a consistent style of play matching Bielsa’s.
Corberan said: “When I arrived my mentality of how I understand football was the same as the academy tried to propose. At the same time, it’s the same as Marcelo is trying to propose in the first team too.
“The link between the academy and the first team is very important and maybe my philosophy of football is the same as Marcelo has too. We’re working all of us in the same direction.
“Marcelo’s a highly demanding coach and it’s very positive for the club. We have to be ready for the high demands but at the same time, he gives importance to the young players and he tries to develop them and follow the process.
“Marcelo’s very focused on the academy and Under-23 level and he’s trying to develop a style which we appreciate a lot. The link between his philosophy and the philosophy of the academy is very positive.”
Bielsa has relied on academy footballers to compensate for a number of injuries to experienced players this season and he praised the youth-team set-up after Clarke’s debut on Saturday.
“We give a lot of credit to what the academy brings to the first team,” Bielsa said. “I’d like to thank the academy for all of the good players they’re giving us.
“He (Clarke) is a young player, 17 years old and a good player. He has very good skills and we can see the reception he received.”
Leeds invested heavily in Under-23 and Under-18 players last season but moved a number of those signing on this summer and planned to limit further recruitment amid concerns that the cost of their academy ranks had grown too high.
The Under-23s, who are also coached by Danny Schofield, have made a strong start to this term and sit top of their professional development league after eight matches. The host Burnley at Elland Road on Friday.
Corberan said: “You have to see what football demands of you and then you have to give the answer. Some players unfortunately didn’t have the skills to be ready for professional football and this is part of the message of the academy.
“Some players, you feel they are not ready so you have to add new players. Because our only objective is to put players in the first team.”