Next big thing? Leeds 19y/o surprises Bielsa after first-team stars blown away in training
Oliver Casey became the latest of the talented Leeds United Under-23s to make his senior debut when he came on in the 85th minute of the 2-0 win against Huddersfield.
If you’ve watched the Under-23s much that won’t have surprised you, although he seems to have leapfrogged Pascal Struijk in the pecking order.
However, what may have surprised you was how calm Casey looked when he came on. There was no rabbit in the headlights there, despite a packed out John Smith’s stadium.
Looking at his stats on WyScout, he completed 100% of his passes (four), won 100% of his duels (three) and aerial duels (one). He also made three ball recoveries.
Admittedly, it’s a very small sample size but the leap up from the Under-23s is a big one and Casey dealt with everything that came his way on Saturday, something that even surprised Marcelo Bielsa.
Talking in his post-match press conference, Bielsa said, “He’s another player from the academy that allow us to have more solutions. In our time here with Leeds, the academy has been very important.”
He went on to say that he knows then players are mentally ready and he believes Casey is. However, he said the “calmness” of his performance surprised him. [Athletic]
Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross quoted Bielsa as saying the Leeds team have a “sixth sense to realise which players they want close to them or not”. Casey had impressed the first-team players in training.
How Bielsa knew Casey was mentally ready for today: "One clear fact is when his team-mates accept him or not. The group has a sixth sense to realise which players they want close to them or not." Got the thumbs up from his team-mates in training. #lufc
— Beren Cross (@BerenCross) December 7, 2019
He’s a very likeable young player as well, always willing to chat with fans.
His debut couldn’t have gone any better and getting the manager and first-team players on side suggests that we will be seeing a lot more of Casey in the second half of the season.