Leeds United: Why the Under-18s gave me hope for the future

After watching tonight’s youth cup tie against Liverpool, I thought that it was a travesty we hadn’t won. That’s the extent to which this generation of youngsters inspires hope.

Last nights display was impressive for a number of reasons, some of which I will endeavour to list below:

A) They’re being taught correctly – The tactics were ideal and ludicrously modern in comparison to the style the first team plays, playing a progressive possession based 4-3-3 system. There was nothing more symbolic of this than the usage of split centre backs when distributing the ball out from the goalkeeper, the sort of advanced, attacking play that the likes of Bielsa and Barça have extolled in recent years. It is excellent that these ideas are being coached into our youngsters.

B) Chris Dawson looks like he’s going to be a hell of a player – The Welsh Under-21 player reminded me (obviously to a lesser extent, but at an impressive skill level nonetheless) of a tiny Rooney, coming deep and picking the ball up but remaining a huge threat in the attacking third. Dawson was all over the pitch and controlled everything. I am very very excited to see him as a part of Leeds’s future.

C) It wasn’t just Dawson – Alex Mowatt, the captain, looked excellent in the centre of the park, the sort of solid midfielder Leeds have often cried out for in recent years. Alongside his solidity came passing ability however, and he also looks like he could be a real gem of a player. Others impressed, even Lewis Walters, who despite only playing for under half an hour (having to leave thanks to injury after a nasty tackle) looked a good modern centre forward. Lewis Cook also took his goal excellently. It was very clear why this team had previously gone 12 undefeated in all competitions.

D) They deserved to win against Liverpool’s cherry-picked continental youngsters – The difference could be seen in Liverpool’s use of a swede as a second half substitute. Leeds were far and away the better team on the night, valuing the Lobanovskyian collective whilst allowing individuals to shine. It was ultimately just two moments of individual running that put Liverpool ahead, and their third was very clearly offside, so isn’t worth talking about.

All in all, a display that should whet the whistle of any Leeds fan looking to the future.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).


2 thoughts on “Leeds United: Why the Under-18s gave me hope for the future”

  1. Wow, there’s a biased report if I ever read one. Firstly, let me say that as a Liverpool fan I thought Leeds played great and might indeed have won the game. However, for all their great passing I don’t remember Liverpool’s keeper having too many saves to make. Leeds started the game brightly but Liverpool should have had an early penalty when Jordan Ibe was fouled in the box. After Liverpool took the lead mid-way through the half it seemed to knock Leeds back and Liverpool dominated for the rest of the first half. Leeds were the better side in the second half as Liverpool appeared to sit back too much and Leeds deservedly scored with ~20 minutes to go. It isn’t possible for you to say whether the third Liverpool goal was ‘clearly offside’ as there was no TV replay which showed the linesman’s view. As for your comment about ‘Liverpool’s cherry-picked continental youngsters’, the only non British/Irish player who started the game for Liverpool was Yalany Baio, who is African. Furthermore, Baio is normally a midfielder and only played because Northern Ireland’s Ryan McLaughlin was injured. As for the ‘Swede’ who came on in the second half, Kris Peterson only came on with about 5 minutes left.

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