Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Noel Whelan Backs Teenager To Succeed In Leeds United First Team: Does He Deserve A Chance?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

During an interview with Football Insider, Noel Whelan has backed Charlie Cresswell to succeed at Leeds United. The former centre forward believes that the youngster has what it takes and deserves an opportunity in the first-team this season amid an injury crisis in the defensive department.

“I think Cresswell is a smashing young player. He has got the talent and the stature. He has been doing really well with England’s Under-19s as well. I think the club will look to strengthen in other areas instead.”, Wheland told Football Insider.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Woes In Defensive Department

Leeds United’s promising start to the campaign has faded, of late, particularly due to their wasteful finishing and a lack of defensive solidity. They have conceded way too many shots, with the likes of Robin Koch and Liam Cooper not doing enough to keep the opposition at bay, though Marcelo Bielsa’s high-intensity approach can be hugely factored in.

Bielsa’s biggest issue, however, is how he has been stripped of defensive options in recent weeks. Koch was already ruled out following an injury earlier this month while Diego Llorente, who recently returned from a long injury layoff, has once again been sidelined – joining Gaetano Berardi in Leeds United’s list of defensive absentees.

As a result, Bielsa has been forced to deploy Luke Ayling at centre-back alongside Cooper in the past couple of matches. It just doesn’t bode well for the Whites who have already struggled defensively this season.

Noel Whelan has backed Charlie Cresswell to succeed at Leeds - Can he deputise for Koch and Llorente?
Leeds United v Hull City EFL Cup 16/09/2020. Leeds United defender Charlie Cresswell 35 during the EFL Cup match between Leeds United and Hull City at Elland Road, Leeds, England on 16 September 2020. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK , Copyright: xSimonxDaviesx PSI-10582-0101

Does Charlie Cresswell Deserve A Chance?

Leeds United have fared better with Ayling at centre-back. But at the same time, it has made them quite vulnerable on the right flank as Stuart Dallas has not been able to unleash his qualities, of late.

Bielsa does always have the option of going with Pascal Struijk, but the young Dutchman has failed to impress in the earlier chances he was given. That is where Cresswell could come into the fray.

The 18-year-old was far from brilliant when he made his first-team debut for Leeds United this season. However, he has come a long way since, having become a crucial part of the club’s U-23 side that is leading the Premier League 2 at the moment.

The youngster has built an excellent central defensive partnership alongside Oliver Casey while also doing well for the England youth sides. His form, combined with his defensive diligence and determination should, therefore, be rewarded with a call-up to the first-team, although that remains to be an unlikely prospect for Cresswell at the moment.

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