By George Overhill

21st Oct, 2022 | 6:40pm

Charlie Cresswell is likely to be recalled to Leeds United in January unless his Millwall game time suddenly improves, according to Phil Hay.

The 20-year-old defender played in nine of the first 11 league games for the Lions this season, scoring three times in the process, as things got off to a very fruitful start.

But since manager Gary Rowett’s formation change at the back to combat poor results the Whites youngster hasn’t even made the bench for the past four fixtures, and with a recall clause present in the deal the situation continuing as is will probably see the move cut short.

Speaking on Friday’s edition of The Phil Hay Show (21 October, 43mins) Hay said during a wider discussion on the gap between the under-21s and the senior players: “Basically Millwall have switched from a back three to a back four so they only need two centre-backs in the team.

“But he’s not even in the squad, and if that persists I think it’s highly likely that he’ll be back in January and look to go elsewhere. I don’t see anybody wanting to stick that out.

“If he’s not playing, that’s the point. There is a recall clause in January. The whole point of him going to Millwall was to get games.”

Necessary

What looked like exactly the sort of experience that Cresswell would need to get him into a position to contribute to the Leeds United first team has quickly dried up.

He will have gained good experience of regular senior involvement earlier in the campaign, as well as experiencing life away from West Yorkshire, but it is a key season for him so United can’t take any chances and let him stagnate after Christmas.

With Jesse Marsch’s back line far from established, and captain Liam Cooper in and out of the side, there are plenty of hopes being pinned on his possible heir apparent.

And considering the recruitment in the last year has focused heavily on areas further forward on the pitch, outside of Rasmus Kristensen whom the jury is still out on, it is all the more important that the in-house assets are managed correctly.

Whether there is the chance for him to actually feature for Leeds in the second half of the season will probably depend on whether some stability can be reached between Cooper and Robin Koch in the mean time, with Diego Llorente looking far from confident and Pascal Struijk tied up on the left after Junior Firpo blew his chance at the job at Leicester on Thursday (20 October).

So, with a nod to Michael Normanton on the podcast, this is sure to be an element of the January transfer window that fans will be keeping a close eye on.

In other Leeds United news, Henry Winter has shared what the fans said to the players after the final whistle at the King Power as things turned “mutinous”.