Live from Thorp Arch: Nketiah returns - Leeds U23 player ratings v Sheff Utd
By Mark Smith at Thorp Arch
Leeds United Under-23s are finally starting to look like the same side that managed to win the Professional Development League last season.
After a shaky start to the campaign and a 7-1 defeat against Derby recently, the young Whites had the chance to make it three wins in a row when welcoming Sheffield United to Thorp Arch.
They did just that with a 2-1 victory over the Blades – goals from Ryan Edmondson and Mateusz Bogusz sending Leeds up to fourth in the league.
It was a strong squad for the under-23s, with Barry Douglas, Gaetano Berardi, Ezgjan Alioski, and Eddie Nketiah all involved.
There were some strong performances across the Leeds Under-23 side – here are our MOT ratings:
Illan Meslier – 9
The Frenchman was superb from the first whistle to the last. Not only was his distribution excellent, but he also managed to pull off a great penalty save to help his side to all three points.
Barry Douglas – 7
Another solid outing for Douglas with the under-23s. The left-back played a more central role in a back three and was calm in possession while keeping the Blades attack relatively quiet.
Bryce Hosannah – 5
A disappointing afternoon for Hosannah, who on another day could easily have been sent off. The attacking full-back spent most of his time arguing with the referee and was often pulled out of position when he should have passed his man along.
Oliver Casey – 6
You know it is a good afternoon when your defender is not overly-involved. Casey didn’t have much to do, winning his aerial duels and cool in possession when starting attacks.
Liam McCarron – 7
McCarron wasn’t even meant to be involved in the game, but the late withdrawal of Pascal Struijk saw him step up. The winger filled in at left-back and hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon.
Jamie Shackleton – 7
When Shackleton is fully-fit, he is a pleasure to watch. The young midfielder was dangerous on the ball and although he was only on the pitch for the first half, he caused great problems interlinking with Jack Clarke.
Alfie McCalmont – 8
He starred against Wigan on Monday, and he did exactly the same against the Blades. Leeds are a much better side with their captain in the heart of midfield, and he dictated the play perfectly when in possession.
Robbie Gotts – 7
Much better from Gotts alongside McCalmont. It was a real battle in the heart of midfield, and in his usual position, the midfielder got forward to great effect, as well as shielding the back four very well – he should have scored but the three points are more important.
Jack Clarke – 6
It is hard to see where it is going wrong for Clarke at this moment. Struggling for minutes in the first team, he looked bright on the ball. It was the end product that let him down at Thorp Arch, with a number of crosses and shots not finding their intended targets.
Mateusz Bogusz – 8
The young Pole was superb in-behind Edmondson and got the goal he deserved in the second half. Bogusz was at the heart of most things positive in the final third in the first half and got his reward in the second with his superbly-taken free-kick.
Ryan Edmondson – 6
It seems strange to rate one of the goal scorers so low. Apart from his goal, it is hard to think of what else Edmondson actually did. In a frustrating first-half, the striker hardly touched the ball, and that continued in the second period. The most important thing as a striker is getting your goals though, and that is what Edmondson did.
Eddie Nketiah – 7
Instantly made a difference in the final third when coming on. Made a number of good runs and caused great problems for the fragile Sheffield United defence.
Ezgjan Alioski – 7
Strange to see Alioski in the side after featuring against Reading, but he completed 45 minutes to great effect. The Macedonian floated around the pitch and played a number of great cross-field passes to release Nketiah in behind.
Gaetano Berardi – 5
It doesn’t seem to be clicking for Berardi this season. The Leeds hero was all over the place at times and was bailed out of trouble by his younger teammates at the back.
In other Leeds news, Live from Thorp Arch: Nketiah responds to question on Leeds clash v Boro