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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 17:32 UK

Blatter praises Leeds youth model

Sepp Blatter
Blatter believes clubs should only have only five foreign players in their teams

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has praised Leeds United's academy set-up and advised more clubs to invest in youth.

In the current financial climate and with more clubs falling into administration, Blatter has hailed the Leeds model as the way forward.

"Unless you are one of the ultra-rich clubs, this, surely, is the way forward," said Blatter.

"Leeds, a club I greatly respect, have to be applauded for its efforts in this regard," he added.

Since their fall from the Premier League to League One, Leeds have looked to their youngsters to kick-start their charge back up the divisions.

The likes of Fabian Delph, Aidan White, Jonathan Howson and Ben Parker have all developed from the academy to become key members of the first-team squad.

Leeds boss Gary McAllister told BBC Radio Leeds: "Our setup and hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

The youngsters in my squad get in because they are good enough not just because they have come from the academy

Leeds boss Gary McAllister
"I know Andy Roxburgh [former Scotland manager] very well and he is close to Sepp Blatter, so I think that's how it's got back to him.

"It's important to stress the we aren't making this a cruise to say how well we are doing.

"The youngsters in my squad get in because they are good enough not just because they have come from the academy.

"When the 16, 17 and 18 year-olds come over and train with the first team they can deal with it.

"They can cope with the increased tempo, movement and skill.

"So you have to tip your cap to Neil Thompson and his staff in the academy for doing a great job."

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see also
In-depth interview: Sepp Blatter
14 Aug 08 |  Football


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