Live from Old Trafford: First-team beckons for class 17y/o – 3 things learned from U18s v United
By Mark Smith at Old Trafford
Leeds United under-18s were edged out by Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday, with the valiant youngsters losing 1-0.
It was a brave effort from the Whites, who gave it their all, eventually being knocked out by a Dillon Hoogewerf header.
Mark Jackson’s side didn’t have much of the ball, but had their chances. Jack Jenkins missed the best of those, losing his composure when through on goal.
The referee made a number of questionable decisions and sent off Henri Kumwenda despite the forward only making two fouls on the night.
The incredible travelling Leeds support made themselves heard all evening, on what will still go down as a memorable night for many of these players.
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Here are three MOT talking points…
1. Cresswell a level above
Charlie Cresswell has been superb in making a name for himself in the under-23s this season. The 17-year-old defender still captains the under-18s regularly and on Wednesday he once again proved he is a step above his teammates. He never stops talking and has the right amount of arrogance that makes him a classy customer in defence. The young enforcer is so commanding and makes any forward near him look helpless. You can’t help but compare him to the likes of Pascal Struijk and Oliver Casey who have made their first-team debuts, and think that he looks even better than them. He is certainly one to lookout for in the next couple of years.
2. Jackson’s side struggling with Bielsa effect
After the win over Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round, we pointed out that the under-18s clearly struggle to replicate the style of the first team. It was similar at Old Trafford – with the home side dominating possession. That is something that rarely happens to the under-23s and the first-team. Bielsa likes to dominate the ball, with his midfield three helping to do that. Jenkins, Cole Gibbon and Nohan Kenneh were way too defensive, and not comfortable enough on the ball to replicate that style – something that saw the away side suffer.
3. Leeds fans really are the greatest in the land
Just one look at Twitter on Wednesday evening, and everyone was talking about the away travelling to Old Trafford. It was phenomenal to be within the crowd, who didn’t stop singing all evening. The home crowd had a little pocket of fans who attempted to sing, but they couldn’t be heard over the Whites faithful. It is something that the under-18s squad will never forget, and they repaid that support with a battling performance in Lancashire. Some teams don’t even take 1,800 fans to games in the Championship, and this is just another piece of evidence that we really are the greatest in the land. The best bit? Jamie Shackleton in with the supporters and starting the chants off.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Hand a transfer request in; Disgraceful’: Many Leeds fans fume at comments from senior club man