Leeds United: Redfearn won’t be tempted by loan offers for U-21 stars

Leeds United's Lewis Walters.
Leeds United's Lewis Walters.
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Neil Redfearn says he is likely to resist any last-minute loan offers for leading members of Leeds United’s development squad, claiming: “They’re better off here.”

Redfearn believes bids from lower-league and non-league clubs could arrive before this month’s emergency deadline but the form of Leeds’ Under-21s is dissuading him from blooding the squad elsewhere.

United’s development team routed Huddersfield Town 5-0 on Monday, climbing to second in their division and setting up a possible title bid ahead of a visit to league leaders Nottingham Forest tomorrow.

Chris Dawson, Lewis Walters and Kalvin Phillips – all of whom have been touted for first-team appearances but are yet to play for United’s senior side this season – featured in Monday’s win, and goals from Dawson and Phillips helped to seal a convincing result.

Centre-back Ross Killock, who has been recalled early from a half-season loan at Halifax Town, completed the win with an injury-time header.

Redfearn’s first-team squad has had a large academy presence this season and the club’s head coach – formerly in charge of United’s youth-development scheme – said he was considering using some of his untested Under-21s during the Championship run-in.

The Football League’s emergency window, however, closes two weeks today and asked if he would listen to approaches for the likes of Dawson, Walters or Phillips, Redfearn said: “I don’t think so. It’s not necessarily the right time.

“The Under-21s are in such good form at the moment and it’s sometimes the case that they’ll get more out of thriving as a group together than they would from getting thrown in cold somewhere else. I imagine people would be interested in them but they’re better off here for now.

“For me, if they were going to another club on loan then it would have to be the right club with the right philosophy. And they’d have to be playing.

“Loans are great if you get what Charlie Taylor got at Fleetwood, a full year of league football, but I’m reluctant to take these lads away from the 21s completely, at least this season. It might be that we use some of them in the first team ourselves.”

Killock, who received a one-year extension to his Leeds contract last month, joined Halifax on a youth loan in January was due to stay with the Conference side until the end of this term.

The defender made only one league appearance, however, and United moved to bring him back to Elland Road ahead of schedule.

Redfearn said: “Circumstances can affect things and from what I’ve been told, Halifax expected to sell a player to Birmingham. That didn’t happen so Ross wasn’t getting a game.

“No disrespect but not playing at a Conference club isn’t going to do him much good. He’s better than that. I only want the young lads going out if it’s beneficial for them.”

Kemar Roofe heads in Leeds United's first goal at 
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