Leeds United's Premier League Cup progression an indicator of just how far Carlos Corberan's side have come

Carlos Corberan started it, Marcelo Bielsa tweaked it and Leeds United's development side keep on rolling.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:12 am
Leeds United's Carlos Corberan (L), Marcelo Bielsa (M) and Jamie Shackleton (R).

A mix of talent acquired through United's scouting network and a selection of the best Thorp Arch has to offer has shaped the Under-23s over the last 18 months on Victor Orta's watch.

Upon his arrival he was tasked with rebuilding a threadbare development side that had been left to rot by a previous regime.

On Monday evening the team that has been built in the months since passed one of their biggest tests with flying colours.

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A 3-1 victory over Newcastle United in the pressure cooker of a must-win game saw United produce one of their best performances of the season.

Leeds, a category two academy, dumped 2015 winners Southampton out of the competition and with it progressed with the Magpies as Group H winners.

Academy status, after all, can be just a number but it is all the more impressive that the Whites topped a group where two category one teams competed.

In the opening half of the 2017 season Corberan in his first six months at the club won just three of his 17 games in charge as the Under-23s struggled to compete in the northern section of the Professional Development League.

Thirteen months on and United are sat five points clear at the top of that very same division.

The victory at Guiseley was a result of all the hard work that has been put in by Corberan and his coaching staff over the last year and a half.

A commitment to style, a development of a clear identity and a belief in promoting youth and investing in players from outside of the famed Thorp Arch walls has brought Leeds to the edge of success.

United, though, would argue that they are already winning.

Bielsa has promoted from within this season with a number of youth players plugging the gaps left by injured stars and it is there where the academy's goal shall and must remain.

Eight of the starting line-up against Newcastle were Orta's incomings while the other three were academy graduates. Another two were with the senior set-up preparing for a Championship clash with Queens Park Rangers.

Not all will make the grade at Leeds but the development squad is no longer a team drifting from game to game.

Corberan, Orta and all those working tirelessly behind the scenes have given it a real purpose once again.

Winning, as they say, can become a habit and the fruits of hard work appear to be paying off in what is becoming a bright future at Elland Road.