Ben ParkerThe summer clear-out has started early at Leeds with Ben Parker and Mika Väyrynen leaving the club by mutual consent.

Ben Parker was the longest serving Leeds player until today. A lifelong Leeds fan, Parker was a very highly rated youngster at Leeds and made 16 appearances for the England U16-19s. After breaking into the first team in 08-09 with 24 appearances, Parker picked up a hamstring injury in the opening game of Leeds’ promotion season and would eventually manage just four appearances in the season.

With good support from Simon Grayson and the backroom staff, Ben Parker was nurtured back to fitness over the past two seasons and even played 90 minutes in Leeds’ unlikely 1-1 draw with Arsenal last year, and in the replay. This season he played a full 90 minutes in the Carling Cup against Bradford, while he notched up four full matches at Carlisle in February, scoring the winner in his first match.

Parker might have seen this coming for a while, refusing to make excuses for the club when put on the spot by Peter Lorimer over Jonny Howson’s sale in January.

A hard worker with undeniable talent, the fans always supported Parker and I’m sure we all wish him the very best in his future career.

Mika Väyrynen, meanwhile, arrived in September but made only two league starts (against Peterborough and Barnsley) and found his time at Leeds blighted by injury. Writing on Twitter, Väyrynen said:

Thank u all 4 great support. Wasn’t meant to b so best decision 4 both parties. Wish club, players, fans all the best in the future. #on2thenext1

Ben Parker and Mika Väyrynen were probably our two most injury-plagued players and their leaving marks the beginning of Warnock’s promised clear-out. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio last Monday, Ken Bates outlined the early stages of Leeds’ plans:

Our squad is ridiculous. 30 in number. That’s got to go down by seven at least without even starting. Then, that will leave us 23 of the existing squad and some of the squad I think Neil wants to change.