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Leeds United Academy preseason set

U18 and U23 teams have friendlies finalized

Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday  - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The club announced yesterday that the Academy had finalized the preseason schedule with fixtures for both the U18 and U23 sides.

Both teams kick off their preseason schedule today, Saturday 22 July, 2017, with a pair of closed-door fixtures. The U18s take on i2i Academy at 11 AM BST while the U23s take on Al Ittihad. Both closed door friendlies will take place at Thorp Arch.

On Tuesday 25 July The U18s will take on Chesterfield FC at 11 AM for a closed door friendly at Thorp Arch while the U23s take on Northern Premier League Division One North side Tadcaster Albion AFC in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire at 7pm at i2i Stadium. The U23 side will also travel to Scarborough AFC on Saturday, 29 July for a friendly.

Both the U18s and the U23s continue their preseason schedule in August, with the U18s taking on Knaresborough Town at 7 PM and the U23s taking on Southampton FC in a closed door friendly at 1pm at Carden Park. Both the U18s and the U23s will take on their respective sides of Middlesbrough FC at 11 AM on Saturday 5 August for closed door friendlies.

The final preseason match for the U23s will be a closed door friendly against the Qatar National Team at St. Georges Park in Burton on 9 August.

It’s not surprising to see the Qatar national team take on the U23s, as Ivan Bravo, the former Real Madrid executive that Andrea Radrizzani appointed to the head of the board of Leeds United, ran the Aspire Academy in Qatar, building the Qatari national team in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

The club’s Academy has produced a number of good players in recent seasons, with players such as Ronaldo Vieira, West Ham United’s Sam Byram, AFC Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook, and Burnley’s Charlie Taylor all coming up through the youth ranks at the club. All of them except for Vieira have left the club under less than ideal circumstances, and the new ownership has committed to retaining the talent and not merely sell off young players for a profit. The Academy looks to turn a corner with an owner who is committed to its success, and these friendlies will help blood the new signings for the club’s youth system.