By Anthony Onifade

13th Oct, 2023 | 6:10pm

Daniel Farke now handed Leeds United headache as Charlie Cresswell sends statement with England Under-21s

Leeds United defender Charlie Cresswell has endured a tough spell at Elland Road with a lack of opportunities under Daniel Farke but his performance for England Under-21s will surely hand his manager a huge headache.

Fresh off a successful loan spell in South London last season and helping England to win the European Under-21 Championship back in June, the centre-back signed a deal until June 2027 (official website, 1 August).

And yet, less than two months later, Cresswell’s future at Leeds looks quite unclear with just three starts in all competitions this term, but only one of those in the Championship with two coming in the Carabao Cup.

Tottenham loanee Joe Rodon and Pascal Struijk have been Farke’s preferred partnership this term, while Liam Cooper is back now after being injured in the season-opener against Cardiff City which has left Cresswell as an unfortunate afterthought.

The captain’s return to action means Cresswell is seemingly even further down the pecking order and he was not even included by Daniel Farke among the substitutes’ bench against Hull City on 20 September.

In fact, he hasn’t featured for Leeds United since the back end of August, a surprise EFL Cup defeat to Salford City (29 August) [SofaScore]

The 20-year-old sensation, once dubbed “immense” by former Elland Road favourite Noel Whelan, enjoyed a tremendous upward trajectory last season becoming a vital and pivotal performer as the South Londoners only fell short of a playoff place on the Championship final day.

Whilst registering impressive six-goal contributions as a centre-back, Cresswell helped the club to five clean sheets, averaged 1.3 interceptions, 1.5 tackles, and 3.1 clearances per 90 whilst winning 61% of his aerial duels, 58% of his ground duels and 60% of his total duels [SofaScore] which certainly shows a defender very capable of performing at such a level again but it hasn’t happened.

Despite his lack of minutes for his club, England under-21 manager Lee Carsley still picked him for the upcoming internationals and he succeeded with tremendous aplomb against Serbia as the European Champions ran out 9-1 winners on Thursday night.

The Elland Road sensational won 100% of his aerial duels (8/8), recorded 98 touches, successfully completed 86% of his passes, won a whopping nine of his duels, registered two interceptions, and one clearance and could well have capped off his complete performance with a goal [SofaScore].

It’s baffling that Cresswell doesn’t even get a look in under Farke given his extraordinary potential and talent but the form of the German’s current options means his stance is understandable.

But, with this latest performance for his country – even despite his lack of football – Farke is certainly in for a sore selection headache when the campaign restarts next weekend.

In other Leeds United news, the club could be set to throw millions away as Phil Hay shares a multi-million-pound update on loanee Sam Greenwood.