Leeds United arguably possess one of the most exciting crops of youth prospects in the Premier League at present, with the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville already being a regular part of Jesse Marsch’s first-team squad, while youngsters such as Sonny Perkins, Darko Gyabi and Archie Gray are all lighting it up for the Whites’ youth sides.
However, while it is Perkins who has largely stolen the limelight for Michael Skubala’s U21 outfit so far this season – with the 18-year-old having scored seven goals in six Premier League 2 fixtures already in 2022/23 – it was another of the Leeds starlets who stole the show in Friday’s 4-0 victory over Stoke City – Mateo Joseph.
Indeed, despite failing to hit the back of the net over his last three Premier League 2 outings, the 18-year-old very much had his shooting boots on against the Potters, bagging three goals to help the Whites maintain their remarkable start to the 2022/23 campaign – winning five and drawing one of their opening six fixtures.
The Spaniard’s second of the night was particularly impressive, with Joseph’s pressure on Tommy Simkin forcing an error from the goalkeeper before the striker picked up Perkins’ rebounded effort and smashed home from an impressively tight angle.
Underrated aspect of Mateo Joseph’s centre-forward play is his pressing; doesn’t give opponents a moment’s peace, which creates situations like this. Confident strike that as well. #lufc pic.twitter.com/9yGHf9IURS
— Joe Donnohue (@JoeDonnohue) September 30, 2022
And, following the fixture, Skubala singled out the youngster for praise, stating (via the Yorkshire Evening Post): “Mateo was fantastic tonight. He’s, if you like, come in and out a little bit, but he’s been training like a warrior, you can see that in his game.
“Mateo is very humble, very quiet in a way but he’s working really, really hard. He’s got that energy and desire and you saw that in his goals and his finishing and you know, he’s a threat for any defence.”
Indeed, while Perkins has been somewhat hailed as the star of the Leeds U21 side this season, the numbers don’t lie, and Joseph’s recent three-goal haul now means he is outscoring the England U19 international – with eight to his name this term.
As such, while the former West Ham United sensation is undoubtedly an exceptionally gifted young player, Jesse Marsch would be wise not to ignore Joseph in his first team planning, as the Spaniard very much looks to be a real diamond in the rough.