After putting pen to paper on a new contract, Leeds United starlet Charlie Cresswell will be hoping of making his breakthrough under Marcelo Bielsa over the coming seasons.
The Whites confirmed earlier in the week that the 18-year-old had signed a new four-year deal to stay at Elland Road, and was of course named on the bench for the club’s Premier League clash against Everton last weekend.
Leeds have had many a great centre-back over their history, and in terms of the Premier League era, Rio Ferdinand is certainly up there with being the pick of the bunch.
While he eventually ended up joining rivals Manchester United, the former England international was a Rolls-Royce of a centre-back: quick, strong and superb on the ball.
Ferdinand was also a vocal presence that saw him eventually become captain at Old Trafford, and that innate leadership quality is something Cresswell possesses.
Speaking after signing his new contract, the centre-back himself said: “I’m confident, I’m a leader, I like to play and I like to head it! There’s lots of players in the first team that I look up to, the likes of Coops, Bill, they lead by example and that is what I want to try and follow.”
Dubbed a “dying breed” for his leadership and communication skills at the back, Leeds U23’s boss Mark Jackson added: “Charlie’s got that, he understands how to lead and we’ve been working with him a long time, in the academy even, when he first broke through in the 18s as a 16-year-old, (working) on his leadership skills.
“Even on the bench in the second half, he’s still talking behind me so that’s a positive because you don’t find many of them these days and we’ve got to try and embrace that, he’s got to try embrace it and develop it as well – and that’s a real positive within his game.”
The 6 foot 1 teenager appears to have all the tools in his locker to become the Whites’ next centre-back success story like Ferdinand at Elland Road.
Given Bielsa already appears to be integrating him into the first-team set-up after naming him on the bench against the Toffees last week, Cresswell could come on leaps and bounds learning directly from the Argentine.
The 18-year-old could be set for great things.