Leeds United Academy confirms its structure for the new season...

The Leeds United Academy has confirmed its structure in preparation for the 2016/17 season.

The Club has been delighted with the performance of the Academy and the commitment, effort and unity of the immensely-talented and experienced Thorp Arch staff to delivering a bright future for Leeds United.

A recent nation-wide review of Academy productivity, which gathered data from all 92 clubs in England’s top four divisions, ranked United’s as the second-highest in the country since the introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) at the start of the 2012/13 season.

The 2015/16 campaign also saw a total of eight Thorp Arch graduates feature in the United first-team over the course of the season, representing the Academy’s highest productivity rate for several years.

Head coach Garry Monk said: “Everybody in football knows the prestige of the Leeds United Academy and the fine work that has been done in developing young players over the years.

“I'm really excited to help keep that important pathway from the Academy to the first team, as I'm a big believer developing young talent.

“As we enter the new season, and having met the staff already, it is clear the Academy is in safe hands to continue performing to such a high standard.”

The Club is extremely satisfied with the structure, planning and wealth of talent that has been put in place within the Academy ahead of the forthcoming season and, therefore, does not intend to appoint an Academy Director.

Adam Underwood and Daral Pugh will continue in their key roles at Thorp Arch as Academy Manager and Head of Coaching respectively, meeting the EPPP requirements for a ‘Category 2’ Academy.

Adam has been in the role of Academy Manager at United since 2014 and is highly-regarded at Thorp Arch, while Daral, the Club’s former assistant Academy manager, returned to Leeds last summer following stints with Bury and Hull City.

Elsewhere, a number of former United players and Academy graduates now occupy a range of key coaching roles at Thorp Arch, which is a factor the Club values particularly highly in the development of its current crop of young players.

Jason Blunt will take charge of the Under-21s on a permanent basis after stepping up from the Under-18s, who will now be led by fellow Academy products Andy Gray and Mark Jackson during the new campaign, with John Anderson departing his Under-18s coaching role this summer.

The Club would like to place on record its thanks to John and wish him the very best for the future.

Jackson, who returned to Thorp Arch last November after a 20-year playing career which began at United, will form an Under-18s coaching pairing with his former Leeds team-mate Gray, while former Scotland international Neil Sullivan remains in place as United’s Academy goalkeeping coach.

Long-serving duo Scott Gardner and Andy Wood will also continue as part of the coaching team at Thorp Arch, alongside a full complement of full and part-time Academy staff in education, coaching, sports science, medicine, recruitment and administration.