Leeds United Academy & U21 Graduates
This page is an up-to-date record of Academy players that have represented the Leeds United first team since 1987. This list contains players that have either graduated from the Academy or were signed and embedded into the Academy or youth team set up when they joined the club. There is a fine line between players qualifying as 'Academy graduates' that have represented the club at all age levels and those that were added to the younger age groups before representing the first team. Only players under the age of 22 that have represented the club below first team level have been included.
I have tried my best to ensure the 'joined' date is as accurate as possible and represents the date each player joined the club as opposed to signing professional terms. Players signed under the age of 21 have been excluded if they were signed as an immediate first team player (e.g. Robbie Keane was signed at the age of 20 but joined as a first team squad member).
Aaron Lennon remains the Leeds player with the most first team appearances for Leeds before the age of 18, making 40 appearances between August 2003 and April 2005. Terry Connor is next having amassed 38 appearances for the club before turning 18.
Financially, Kalvin Phillips remains the club's most successful export having received a £42m transfer fee (potentially rising to £45 million in add-ons) from Manchester City for his signature on July 4th 2022 after he signed a six-year contract. He made 234 appearances for Leeds United between 2015 and 2022, the highest amount by an Academy graduate since Harry Kewell (242) who arrived at Elland Road as a 15-year-old.
Most recently, the latest Leeds Academy star to make the headlines in the Gray family dynasty is the talented teenager Archie Gray. Gray's dad Andy, grandfather Frank and legendary great-uncle Eddie all played for Leeds. Archie signed his first professional contract with Leeds United just five days after becoming eligible on his 17th birthday on March 17th 2003 and broke into the first team under Daniel Farke during the 2023/24 season in the Championship.
The players are listed in chronological order from when they made their first team debut for Leeds United.
Noteable players that came through the youth ranks at Leeds but never represented the club and are not included on the list include David Seaman, Danny Rose, Micah Richards, Oli McBurnie, Tom Cairney, Luke Garbutt, John Scales, James Tavernier, Matthew Lowton, Daniel Batty, Michael Johnson, Elliot Kebbie, Harpal Singh, Tom Taiwo, Michael Woods, Caleb Folan and James Tavernier.
This is an ongoing developing project and I am currently checking through various sources and adding as much detail as I can, but if you have spotted any details that need amending please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.