Charlie Cresswell on why season for Leeds United's under-23s is far from complete
LEEDS United’s all-conquering under-23s have signed off in style - but this season’s mission is far from complete.
That’s the message from captain Charlie Cresswell who says every member of Mark Jackson’s young side ultimately has designs on making Marcelo Bielsa’s first team before the current campaign is done.
Cresswell and United’s under-23s were celebrating in the rain at a wet Thorp Arch on Monday after completing a stunning Premier League Two Division Two season in style.
Mark Jackson’s side approached the season finale at home to Burnley already assured of promotion as champions after a stellar campaign.
All that remained was for the young Whites to sign off in style as they also looked to complete the whole season going unbeaten at home.
By Monday afternoon it was mission accomplished in style as a brace of penalties from Sam Greenwood together with strikes from Cody Drameh, Niall Huggins and Crysencio Summerville gave Leeds a 5-2 victory.
Cresswell, 18, then stepped up to hoist aloft the trophy, having nearly bagged a goal himself too.
As goals rained in almost as much as the wet stuff from the sky, Cresswell saw a bullet header in the second half crash back off the post.
“I should have scored,” laughed the centre-back.
“I rattled the post. I tried to have a bit of a laugh about it but I walked back and I was like ‘Charlie, how have you not scored that?’ Oh dear.
“But never mind, we move on. I think I had another one after but it came off my nose though.”
The skipper also had to intervene in unusual circumstances as Summerville and Greenwood both stood over the ball to take United’s first penalty with neither budging.
Summerville had won the spot kick with his lightning pace but Greenwood needed two more goals to leapfrog team mate and close friend Joe Gelhardt as the under-23s top scorer. Eventually he got them.
“I knew Sam was on for top goalscorer so I just said ‘Cree, listen, Sam is going for top goalscorer,” said Cresswell, asked about the bizarre penalty incident for which Summerville was booked for not moving out of the way. “He wasn’t having it so I had to grab the ball.”
But around half an hour later Cresswell was grabbing the PL2 Division Two trophy - although even now the teenager says his side’s season is far from complete.
For the 23s, next term will present regular battles against the country’s young cream of the crop in the PL2 top tier which will mean clashes against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. Rather like Marcelo Bielsa’s first team, and that’s where Cresswell and co are aiming too.
Cresswell explained: “I know we have finished our season but the first team have still got games left and we are all trying to get in the squad because that’s what we are here to do, we are here to try and improve and to try and get better.
"On the Liverpool and Man U thing, they are just other teams we can go and play and hopefully take it in our stride and get the results that we need.”
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Thank you Laura Collins