Marcelo Bielsa has praised £1.5m striker Sam Greenwood, who he says has been “growing and shining” in the Leeds United Under-23s. 

Greenwood made his debut in the FA Cup game against Crawley and that didn’t go according to plan.

However, Bielsa took the blame for the defeat and refused to throw any of his youngsters under the bus.

In fact, he dropped a very big hint that Greenwood, along with Jack Jenkins and Oliver Casey, could be set for more first-team action.

Talking in his press conference from Thorp Arch on Thursday, Bielsa said, “With respect to the young players, Olly Casey, Jenkins and Greenwood, they are in the under-23 team and have been growing and shining. [Leeds Live]

“They are players who can be submitted to some bigger challenges than the under-23 games. There was a lot of expectations that these players can have minutes… because they have been playing well to deserve minutes.

“I think that the three young lads, Jenkins, Casey and Greenwood, they had to play the most difficult minutes. I can’t hold any player as responsible for the defeat, especially not the younger ones or the unbalance that was in the game.”

Leeds United

Future is Green(wood)

Greenwood played 36 minutes against Crawley and would have been hoping to do better than an xG of 0.05 with no shots on target.

He lost the ball six times and didn’t manage a single dribble. [WyScout]

It wasn’t the debut he would have written for himself but it didn’t take him long to shrug off the disappointment – he was back to scoring ways with the opener just a day later for the under-23s.

Leeds don’t have a senior replacement for Patrick Bamford, with Rodrigo being played in the number 10 spot.

It means that there could well be more first-team bench time for Greenwood and if he can keep progressing and proving himself in the Under-23s, he could well start getting more first-team game time, too.

Bielsa obviously believes in him and that backs up the big £1.5m fee that they paid Arsenal for him.

In other Leeds United news, ‘My understanding is’ – Phil Hay details Leeds stance as lawyers called in over Koch transfer

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