When it comes to Leeds United, they have a whole plethora of promising young academy players.
Victor Orta has made a point of strengthening that area of the club and in the summer it was a huge priority to improve Mark Jackson’s squad.
He added Cody Drameh, Crysencio Summerville, Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt to the club’s academy ranks and a number of them have reaped the rewards pretty instantly.
Summerville scored a hat-trick against Burnley U23s while Greenwood was presented with a first-team opportunity against Crawley in the FA Cup.
Though, it’s a defender in Leeds’ ranks that we want to focus on for the time being. Of course, it will naturally be the attackers who take most of the credit but one man who’s also earned a first-team debut this season has been Charlie Cresswell.
The 18-year-old has only featured on one occasion under Marcelo Bielsa but it would hardly be a surprise if he starts to get more chances in the not too distant future.
That’s because he is the archetypal Bielsa player, a defender who likes to advance forward with the ball at his feet and play out from the back.
Speaking about the centre-back earlier this season, Noel Whelan highlighted his qualities: “At that centre-half position he’s got great attributes, he’s very calm on the ball, a great size to him, he’s quick, he can head, he can pass. He’s the modern-day, young-centre half.”
If you’d taken those words out of context, it could quite easily describe a certain Ben White.
Like Cresswell, he’s a baby faced centre-half and possesses very similar qualities. White was tremendous during Leeds’ promotion-winning campaign last season and in their 18-year-old academy graduate they have a player who could potentially live up to similar heights.
Last term, White completed 84.6% of his passes, a tally that Cresswell came close to emulating when the U21s took on Blackpool in the Papa John’s Trophy. On that day, the teenager completed 81% of his passes, demonstrating complete composure in the backline.
Last summer, it was all about who Leeds could find to replace the Brighton defender at centre-half. They tried to do so with the additions of Robin Koch and Diego Llorente but since arriving, they seem to have spent more time on the treatment table than out on the field.
Perhaps Bielsa’s answer was right in front of him all along? Cresswell typifies the modern defender and has all the attributes that made White such a hit at Elland Road.