'About five minutes before the warm-up' - Leeds United’s Charlie Cresswell on the moment he got the nod for his Premier League debut

Leeds United’s Charlie Cresswell was ‘overwhelmed’ following his Premier League debut as the Whites fell to a late defeat against West Ham United.

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 6:50 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th September 2021, 6:54 pm

Charlie Cresswell revealed how he found out he was starting for Leeds United when he spoke to the media after the Whites' loss to West Ham.

With Robin Koch and Diego Llorente out injured and Pascal Struijk serving the final game of his suspension, centre-back duties fell to 19-year-old Charlie Cresswell who lined up alongside Liam Cooper for his first Premier League appearance.

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The Under-23s skipper started for Marcelo Bielsa's side midweek as the Whites beat Fulham in the Carabao Cup before being given the nod as Leeds prepared to take on West Ham on Saturday afternoon.

When asked how he thought his performance had gone, Cresswell initially avoided giving an assessment of his debut.

“My mind is just overwhelmed," he said. "I need to calm down when I get back and watch it back, see how I did.

“About five minutes before the warm up I was told I’m starting, I was like ‘wow’.

Charlie Cresswell on his Premier League debut. Pic: George Wood/Getty

“I went into the starting dressing room and had to switch my game head on.

"I thought I actually did quite well.

Playing every minute of the loss, Cresswell was handed the challenge of keeping the Hammers’ striker Michail Antonio under control.

His efforts to do so almost gifted West Ham an equaliser. The referee gave the Hammers a free-kick on the edge of the box when Cresswell felled Antonio on the edge of the area, and in a goalmouth scramble Tomáš Souček fired home before VAR ruled it out for a foul on Ilan Meslier.

Charlie Cresswell warms up at Elland Road. Pic: George Wood/Getty

At 1-0 up, Cresswell had the chance to double Leeds' lead. Unmarked at the back post, the young defender met Dallas' corner but pressure from Angelo Ogbonna prevented a solid connection.

Though he was "gutted" to lose the game, Cresswell was still smiling when he spoke to the media after the match.

“As a footballer and sportsperson I want to play every week and that’s all I want to do," he said. "But I’ve just got to be there for my teammates and help when I can.”

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Cresswell pressures Michail Antonio. Pic: Oli Scarff/Getty