By Ryan Darby

11th Dec, 2020 | 12:07pm

Phil Hay names two talented Leeds teens who could get first-team action after major injury blow

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has named two Leeds United youngsters who can benefit from the current injury crisis at Elland Road – Charlie Cresswell and Oliver Casey.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show (11/12/2020 – 50:48), Hay was discussing Bielsa’s handling of the injuries to Robin Koch and Diego Llorente after the manager revealed he will not be signing a new central defender in January.

Hay believes that Bielsa enjoys the challenge of solving this latest problem he has within the squad, claiming: “He feels the preparation, not just through the week, but over months and seasons has been so good that the players should just be able to drop into the team.

“Struijk should be able to fit in because Struijk knows what they do and at academy level, you’ve got guys like Charlie Cresswell and Olly Casey who play in the same way, train with the first team from time to time and are in that inner circle.

“Likewise, if he had to fall back on them, I don’t think it would be a huge concern for Bielsa.”

Bielsa has already confirmed that both Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling will start against West Ham on Friday night, but with the busy Premier League schedule, there could be opportunities for some of the club’s young stars going forward.

Bielsa can guide Leeds United into a bright future

It speaks of the quality of Bielsa as a coach that he is simply refusing to rush into the January market to sign a new central defender after a couple of injuries.

Bielsa values the importance of familiarity, which is why we have seen Ayling deployed centrally on more than one occasion this season.

Speaking about Ayling earlier this season, Bielsa claimed he was a player who ‘transmitted serenity’ through the rest of the team, so the Argentinian will have no problems putting his faith in the versatile defender.

His comments also point towards a bright future for the Whites, even as they look to climb into the upper echelons of the Premier League.

While Bielsa will not hesitate to spend money on a quality player, he is ready to give opportunities to the club’s younger stars.

Bielsa is a player that is known to like working with younger players and the moves to sign the likes of Joe Gelhardt and Cody Drameh recently point towards a conservative effort from the club to plan for the future.

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