Live from Thorp Arch: Three things learned from Leeds U23s win v Barnsley
By Mark Smith at Thorp Arch
Leeds United Under 23s welcomed Barnsley to Thorp Arch on Monday, looking to put their 7-1 defeat to Derby last time out behind them. Carlos Corberan’s side did that in style, strolling to a 2-0 victory.
The young Whites had a number of senior options to call upon and Pablo Hernandez, Barry Douglas and Gaetano Berardi all completed 45 minutes.
The deadline was broken early with Ryan Edmondson firing low into the bottom corner after great work from Liam McCarron down the left.
Jordan Stevens then got on the scoresheet. The winger raced onto a long ball at the start of the second half to put the game to bed.
We were live at Thorp Arch to take in the action, and here are three things we learned about the under-23s after Monday’s win.
1. Meslier guaranteed spot if Casilla banned
Corberan has swapped between keepers all season. Both Illan Meslier and Kamil Miazek have been used, and should Kiko Casilla eventually receive a ban, Marcelo Bielsa could have had a selection headache. It was Miazek who started against Barnsley, and he made that choice much more simple. He struggled all afternoon with the ball at his feet, a real dealbreaker for Bielsa. Leeds demand that their keeper is comfortable in possession, and if it was not for his defence, the young stopper could have been picking the ball out of his net on Monday. Meslier was most likely the favourite before this game, but that debate has surely now been thrown out of the window.
2. Stevens starting to shine
No one can blame the youngster for going into his shell in recent months. The FA banned the 19-year-old from all footballing activities for six weeks [BBC], meaning he couldn’t even be at Thorp Arch. That reflected in his performances on his return. When watching the under 23s against Burnley recently, Stevens was poor and hardly touched the ball in the 1-1 draw. Only a few weeks on and the winger was superb against Barnsley. Stevens was everywhere this afternoon – from pressing in the final third to getting on the ball in dangerous areas, and Stevens got the goal his performance deserved. Another handful of similar performances and the youngster will surely be a name we start to see on the bench in the Championship more often.
3. Edmondson would struggle with step up
Patrick Bamford has perfected the art leading the line by himself in the past two seasons. The 26-year-old knows when to push and put more pressure on opposition defences. That is where Ryan Edmondson struggles. There is no hiding the fact that the young striker can find the back of the net with ease and is very physical. When out of possession against Barnsley, however, Edmondson was a frustrated figure and didn’t know when to push or not. He was often complaining to Corberan and his staff and those are clear signs he would struggle under Bielsa.