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Leeds: Marsch can form deadly attacking duo in Perkins and Joseph

Leeds United failed to maintain their recent upturn in form on Wednesday evening, with Jesse Marsch’s side losing 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup meeting under the Molineux lights.

However, despite the loss, the 48-year-old manager will not be too disheartened by the result, as there were a number of positives to take from the clash in the West Midlands.

Indeed, 19-year-old defender Leo Hjelde impressed alongside Diego Llorente at centre-back, while 18-year-old central midfielder Darko Gyabi also comfortably outshone Mateusz Klich in the middle of the park.

However, it was undoubtedly the 18-year-old forwards Sonny Perkins and Mateo Joseph who most caught the eye on Wednesday evening, with the Whites U21 pair already looking to have formed a deadly attacking duo.

Both youngsters have been in incredible form for Michael Skubala’s side this season, with summer signing Perkins having bagged eight goals over 12 Premier League 2 and Papa John’s Trophy fixtures, while Joseph has scored 12 goals and provided one assist over his 11 appearances in the same competitions.

As such, both players were well worth their first team debuts at Molineux, with Joseph being handed his first senior start on the left wing, while Perkins was handed his Leeds debut in a free-flowing number 10 role, switching positions with centre-forward Joe Gelhardt throughout the match.

And, while neither of the teenagers were ultimately able to get themselves on the scoresheet, there were nevertheless some extremely encouraging signs that the duo could go on to become a real force for Leeds in the not-too-distant future.

Indeed, Perkins’ two key passes, one dribble and four duels won demonstrated his creativity, his comfort with the ball at his feet and his strength, while Joseph’s three shots at goal, one key pass and one dribble highlighted his deadly nature in the final third, his ability to play a defence-splitting pass and his skill in possession of the ball.

Rather understandably, the youngsters came in for a significant amount of praise for their respective displays against Premier League opposition, with the Spaniard being dubbed “sprightly” by Phil Hay and “really bright” by Matty Hewitt, while René Marić singled the “explosive” Perkins out in his post-match remarks, stating:

“With Sonny, we have a player who is talented and eye-catching, that mixture of physical posture and his ability on the ball is rare.”

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It is some statement to make but, considering the duos’ positional versatility – with both Joseph and Perkins able to play anywhere across a front three – creativity and clinical edge, perhaps Elland Road could be witnessing the birth of the new Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp – the pair who directly linked up for 18 league goals and bagged 200 top-flight goals between them for Arsenal in the early 2000s.

Indeed, the Arsenal duo would play off each other in mesmerising fashion, with Perkins and Joseph already showing signs at youth level of establishing a similar sort of connection, albeit not on the elite stage.

Either way, the 18-year-olds look to be two exceptionally talented young forwards who Leeds supporters will undoubtedly be seeing a great deal more of in the months and years to come – with the future looking extremely bright for the Whites.