Charlie Cresswell spills bean on Leeds United debut and Liam Cooper talk
Charlie Cresswell’s Premier League debut for Leeds United came around very quickly which meant he had no time to get flustered about it.
The 20-year-old, who is now on loan at Millwall in the Championship, was brought in as a very late replacement for Luke Ayling who suffered an injury in the warm-up of the game against West Ham in September 2021.
He has now revealed the conversation he had with club captain and seasoned professional Liam Cooper as he prepared to mark Hammers striker Michail Antonio.
“I was supposed to be on the bench and Ayling was stood there testing his knee with the physio and he said he can’t play,” he said, as quoted by Leeds Live. “I was supposed to be on the bench and Ayling was stood there testing his knee with the physio and he said he can’t play,”
“I had to switch my game head on. I went out to the warm-up, I was obviously nervous. Once that whistle went all the nerves went away and it was only a game of footy, it’s what you’ve been doing since you were five and I enjoyed it, every minute of it.
“In about the 10th minute in, he (Michail Antonio) got the ball and he’s rolled me. I remember Coops saying to me, ‘Cressy, don’t fight him’. From that moment on, I let him have it but as soon as he touched it, I just went onto him straight away.”
Trying to stop the physical monster that is Antonio a very good baptism of fire for any defender and a vital lesson that is best learnt early in the career rather than late.
Cresswell has come through that tough debut and started to excel in the Championship now with three goals already to his name for the Lions at The Den.
He could have been a player that Jesse Marsch would have used this season but the American chose to trust the likes of Robin Koch, Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk instead.
Next season should and has to be a different story though because Cresswell is a real talent who needs to make his mark on the Premier League now at Elland Road.
He is starting for England’s Under-21s too at the moment and has all the ability and knowledge to make it at the top of the game if he only gets the chance he deserves by Marsch.