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Leeds: Mateo Joseph failed his big chance vs Bolton

Leeds United U21s suffered their first defeat of the season on Wednesday evening, with Bolton Wanderers running out 3-0 winners at the University of Bolton Stadium in the Papa John’s Trophy meeting.

And, while a loss to a team who sit seventh in League One is by no means a disaster for Michael Skubala’s side – especially without the likes of Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood in the squad – after scoring 30 goals over their eight fixtures in 2022/23 prior to last night, the Whites’ failure to create and put away opportunities against the Trotters may worry the 39-year-old coach.

Indeed, over the course of the 90 minutes in Greater Manchester, Leeds created a mere one big chance and hit the target with just three of their 14 shots at goal, with the front three of Sonny Perkins, Sean McGurk and Mateo Joseph all failing to make any real impact within the match.

However, it will undoubtedly be the latter of this attacking trio most disappointed with his performance on Wednesday night, as, without the likes of Gelhardt and Greenwood in the side, Joseph largely failed to prove to onlookers that he could be ready to make the step up to first-team football.

Indeed, the 19-year-old offered his side very little going forwards, enjoying just 27 touches of the ball – the fewest of any of the Leeds starters – missing the target with his one attempt at goal and failing to complete any of his three attempted dribbles.

The centre-forward also completed just eight of his 13 attempted passes – a success rate of 62% – gave away possession on 13 separate occasions – meaning he lost the ball with every two touches he had – and lost seven of his eight duels – a failure rate of 87.5%.

These returns saw Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Joe Donnohue award the attacker a six in his player ratings, before adding of the youngster’s display: “Cut a frustrated figure, Joseph was marshalled for the majority of the game after starting brightly.”

As such, while it is undeniable that the nine-goal striker is an extremely talented young player, if a fixture against an impressive League One outfit was Joseph’s big chance to impress Jesse Marsch and his first-team coaches, unfortunately for the Spaniard, it is clear to see he well and truly failed this test.