Leeds United returned to the top of the Championship table as they recorded a sixth straight victory by defeating west Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side needed to wait until the second half to see a pair of goals fly in, the first coming from Ezgjan Alioski as he fired home an exquisite volley from the edge of the penalty box after a cleared corner fell straight into his path.
United then launched a scathing counter-attack with just over ten minutes remaining, spearheaded by winger Jack Harrison whose ball into the box was put on a plate for Pablo Hernandez to fire home past the Huddersfield goalkeeper.
It means the Whites leapfrog West Bromwich Albion to take possession at the league’s summit with their promotion rivals playing Swansea City on Sunday afternoon.
Leeds’ impressive defensive record also continued as they recorded an 11th clean sheet of the season – a monumental feat from just 20 matches.
One of their young academy prospects played a part in that as Bielsa handed centre-back Oliver Casey a first-team debut five minutes from time.
Several of the Elland Road faithful have since been raving about the 19-year-old on social media.
Can I just applaud Casey on how flawlessly he slotted into that team today, looked like he’d been in our team for years #lufc
— Dan Paton (@DanPaton5) December 7, 2019
Oliver Casey Appreciation Post:
He only played 10 minutes but showed compusure on the ball and settled the game.
Big Prospect this Lad!🔥👏
— Totally Leeds (@TotallyLeeds) December 7, 2019
— Ryan Owen (@whiterosephilly) December 7, 2019
Casey Oliver looked impressive when he came on. Bags of confidence, stepped out and won the ball a few times. Good to see #lufc
— Conor Wilson (@ConorWilson2) December 7, 2019
— Dan Sumpter (@corbyleedsfan) December 7, 2019
Oliver Casey did about five things and they were all lovely #lufc
— RichieRich (@AMitherer) December 7, 2019
Like look of Casey looks composed
— Mark Ramm (@LufcRammy) December 7, 2019
Oliver Casey came on and slotted seamlessly into the team, looked quality #LUFC
— ghoods 💙💛 (@Girhodes5) December 7, 2019
Casey having ‘confidence’ and ‘composure’ were two recurring themes considering the emerging prospect had never played a senior game in his career while one supporter went as far as suggesting that he looked like he had been part of the defence for years.
His cameo performance also drew serious comparisons to the beloved Ben White, who was played further forward in the absence of Kalvin Phillips.
Might he be the long-term heir to the Brighton man’s throne? Some fans certainly believe so…
— Adam Ross (@rossi_on) December 7, 2019
Casey looked like Ben White MK11#lufc
— Russ (@RussellSmith64) December 7, 2019
White’s performances this season have attracted interest from the Premier League, and given that the club do not have an obligation to buy in the summer, it seems likely that his time in south Yorkshire will not extend past this season, even more so if they do not gain promotion.
Throw in injuries to the likes of Liam Cooper, it could be a real possibility that Casey gets more of an opportunity under Bielsa.
One member of the travelling support thinks that could be the case…
We certainly need a new centre back for back up . Casey and Cresswell both looking good
— Dave kemp (@kempdavid1975) December 7, 2019
We’ll have to wait and see how this develops over the next few weeks, but it says a lot when the manager trusts him enough to see out the match on his first ever appearance in the matchday squad.