Leeds United’s coach search picks up pace as backroom staff prepare for players’ recall

Leeds United coaches James Beattie and Pep Clotet.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United coaches James Beattie and Pep Clotet.' PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Leeds United’s players have been told to report in for the start of pre-season in two weeks’ time as Andrea Radrizzani steps up his search for a new manager.

United’s senior squad will be back at Thorp Arch for initial tests in the last week of this month amid on-going efforts to find a replacement for former head coach Garry Monk.

Leeds have been without a first-team boss since Monk unexpectedly tabled his resignation on May 25, pre-empting a plan by Radrizzani to extend his contract to the end of next season.

Radrizzani revealed on Tuesday that he is meeting candidates for the vacancy this week and those discussions are expected to continue over the weekend. United’s owner is likely to push to secure Monk’s successor before Leeds’ players begin routine pre-season testing on June 23.

The squad are due to begin fitness sessions at Thorp Arch three days after that.

Leeds have so far retained all of Monk’s backroom team – assistant Pep Clotet, first-team coach James Beattie and goalkeeping coach Darryl Flahavan – with a view to making a decision on their futures once a new manager is appointed.

Their contracts run to June 30 of this year.

Fitness coach Sean Rush, the club’s head of physical performance, is understood to be part of United’s plans for next season and will be present when the players return from their summer break.

Radrizzani moved to shed some light on the hunt for a new manager in a tweet published on Tuesday evening.

The Italian said: “I understand frustration, we are meeting candidates this week. It is important we take the time to make the best decision for the club.”

Leeds have distanced themselves firmly from links to ex-Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka – an early favourite on account of his relationship with new Leeds director of football Victor Orta – and have given little indication about the identity of the coaches shortlisted for the vacancy at Elland Road.

The YEP understands that Huddersfield Town’s David Wagner was among the names initially identified by Radrizzani, an option ruled out quickly by Town’s promotion to the Premier League four days after Monk’s resignation.

Claudio Ranieiri, who defied odds of 5000-1 to lead Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016, has been touted as a possible candidate for the job during the past fortnight but his agent, Steve Kutner, told the YEP last night that there was “no truth to the rumours”.