By Jonty Banks

2nd Dec, 2022 | 8:40pm

Leeds United will be laughing stocks ahead of trip to Spain in December

A youthful Leeds United Under-21 side were left embarrassed after an 8-0 annihilation to Spanish top-flight outfit Valencia in a pre-arranged World Cup break friendly on Friday lunchtime (2 December).

The Whites youngsters travelled to Spain ahead of Jesse Marsch and the first-team squad, who are set to face Elche on December 8 during their warm weather camp in Spain.

However, the highly-touted crop of youngsters were made to look like a laughing stock as they crumbled to a heavy defeat, to an albeit strong Valencia side that included several first-team stars.

The Under-21s team were without regular starters Sonny Perkins, Mateo Joseph, Leo Hjelde and Darko Gyabi, with the gulf in class easily visible.

Teenage defender Kris Moore captained the youthful Whites side, who found themselves 4-0 down at half-time and then concede a further four after the break.

A number of Leeds’ Under-18 stars also started the game, including Max Dean, Sean McGurk, Jeremiah Mullen and Charlie Allen.

Gulf in class

The comparative strength of Valencia’s side compared to Leeds’ was clear for all to see during their thrashing – which will dampen the spirits of an otherwise flying Under-21s side.

After winning eight of their nine games in the PL2 Division 2 this season – and netting 33 goals along the way – this will come as a harsh reality check to several of these starlets who were getting their first taste of facing a competitive first-team.

Although the side were without Perkins and Joseph, who have been their main source of goals this season, the definitive scoreline still comes as a big embarrassment to Marsch and the club.

The Leeds side was brimming with an abundance of talent, but the fact only one player – Alfie McCalmont – had made his Whites debut, shows the stark difference between the two sides.

It provided plenty of game time for youngsters, but the scoreline represents an awful start to the warm-weather training camp.

In other Leeds news, Sky Sports pundit is shocked by how the USA have treated creative midfielder Brenden Aaronson at the World Cup.