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Leeds: Charlie Cresswell is starring on loan

Leeds United have struggled defensively in recent months, with Jesse Marsch’s side shipping 22 goals over their last ten Premier League fixtures – including seven in their last two top-flight outings – with their total of 26 conceded ranking the Whites as the joint fourth-worst defence in the division.

Indeed, Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente and Robin Koch have all struggled at centre-back, currently ranking as the club’s 10th, 12th and 13th-best performers respectively in the league, with makeshift left-back Pascal Struijk – who himself ranks as the Whites’ fourth-best player this term – arguably being the only of the Leeds defenders to have truly impressed so far in 2022/23.

However, while the vast majority of the club’s defenders have not been in the best of form this time out, there is one centre-back currently on the club’s books who has been catching the eye for all the right reasons this season – in the form of Charlie Cresswell.

Since making the move to Millwall on a season-long loan deal this summer, the 20-year-old has already become an integral part of Gary Rowett’s backline – as well as reportedly becoming a target of second-tier promotion hopefuls Norwich City.

And, it is not difficult to see why the defender is attracting admiring glances, as the £4.4m-rated talent has highly impressed over his 14 Championship appearances, helping his side keep three clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 1.6 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 2.4 clearances and winning 7.1 duels – at a success rate of 61% – per game.

The £5.4k-per-week youngster has also chipped in for the Lions going forwards, scoring three goals, providing one assist and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.9 shots, making 0.4 key passes and playing 3.8 long balls per fixture.

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These returns have seen the player who Joe Wainman dubbed “unbelievable” average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.14, not only ranking him as Millwall’s third-best performer in the league but also as the joint 26th-best player in the second tier of English football as a whole.

As such, with it being reported that Leeds do possess an option to recall the 20-year-old in the January transfer window, considering just how impressive Cresswell has been this season, it would appear advisable for Marsch to activate this clause, as the 48-year-old manager could well solve his huge defensive problem by unleashing the centre-back in his starting XI.