By George Overhill

26th May, 2023 | 9:21pm

Leeds United transfer news: Gary Rowett speculates on 'absolutely fantastic' Charlie Cresswell future after Millwall loan

Gary Rowett has delivered high praise to Leeds United defender Charlie Cresswell after a successful loan spell at Millwall amid speculation over his future.

The 20-year-old fought his way back into the starting XI at The Den twice before surgery on a fractured eye socket ended his season, and there is transfer interest in him heading into the summer window.

With the Whites facing relegation to the Championship on the final day of the season Rowett expects the centre-back to be in the equation to feature back at Elland Road, but if there is an unlikely escape he suggested another loan could be on the cards, which he sounds like he would be interested in.

Rowett told South London Press: “He is going to be a top centre-half and a top player – certainly in the second half of the season we saw that oozing out. He was absolutely fantastic before his injury. He was a really big loss to us.

“It’s not fair for me to comment on other club’s position on their players but I would imagine if Leeds are in the Championship next season then he would have that experience and a chance of staking a claim for them.

“If Leeds are in the Premier League then I suppose they would have a conversation of which way they want to go – Charlie may be part of that or he may not. He has developed well and shown what he is about. Another strong season next year and he is not far away from being a Premier League player.

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“We knew he was a big talent. He found the challenges of the Championship straight away – in that it’s not always easy to play the game in a certain way. You have to be able to adjust and learn some of the little nuances of it.”

In line

If Leeds United are relegated they are going to lose a certain amount of their first team players as a matter of course, and after this season there might not be too many that fans will be sad to see the back of.

In that situation the club should really be looking to keep hold of players who have just spent time performing well in the second tier.

The ship may have already sailed with Cody Drameh, which has to go down as a dropped ball for the Elland Road hierarchy.

But Cresswell could be a central figure, especially when the defensive line has been poor enough this season that there is no risk of breaking up an established unit.

There would be an argument to give the youngster a chance in the top flight even if Sam Allardyce somehow does oversee an escape on Sunday (28 May), because the current options have left plenty to be desired.

A long list of questions need answering whichever way it goes in the Premier League this weekend, and Cresswell’s future comes some way down it, but he may be on the brink of breaking into the first team in a big way if the Whites go down.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared his latest update on the situation with 49ers Enterprises amid some “very strange” behaviour from Andrea Radrizzani.