Leeds United duo pile on the praise after 'deserved' breakthrough as Farke lauds 'key business'

Leeds United's French duo Georginio Rutter and Illan Meslier have heaped praise on Mateo Joseph after a 'deserved' first team breakthrough.
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Daniel Farke gave the 20-year-old the nod on Wednesday night, starting him up top against Premier League Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge. The opportunity came partly due to Patrick Bamford's inability to train on Monday, although Farke insisted Joseph's place in the team was warranted due to the way he has trained and operated this season within the senior set-up.

Joseph duly repaid his manager's faith with the first two goals of his career, pouncing on a ball in the area to drill in the opener and then arriving at the back post to nod in a second half cross from Jaidon Anthony. What impressed, beyond his poacher-like finishing, was the way he managed to hold up the ball, win free-kicks and find team-mates, against top flight opposition.

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Watching on from home with pride was fellow striker Rutter, who sat out due to injury and had to experience the cup tie as part of the television audience.

IMPRESSED: Leeds United star Georginio Rutter. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.IMPRESSED: Leeds United star Georginio Rutter. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.
IMPRESSED: Leeds United star Georginio Rutter. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

"Too good," Rutter told the YEP. "It's unbelievable. He works every day you know? This guy works hard every day for that. He deserves it. He's a good guy. I'm very happy and I think everyone is happy for him, you saw that after the goal that everyone was happy. I played with him last year in 21s, I train with him all the time and he never gives up. Very happy for him."

Watching on from the other end of the pitch, with equal delight, was Meslier. The stopper also sees in Joseph a young player who is doing his utmost to make it at Leeds. Meslier's prediction is that more opportunities will follow for the striker.

"So happy for him, so proud of him because he’s a great young guy who's working a lot and improving day by day," said Meslier. "We are so happy for him that he can score two goals for us and it was his best game for us and I'm sure he will have more minutes with us in the league."

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It feels likely that Farke will stick with Bamford or Joel Piroe up top against Huddersfield Town in the Championship on Saturday morning but Joseph has done his chances of increasing his involvement no harm at all this week. The manager already sees him as an important player for the future at Elland Road.

“Mateo is a really good young player, I loved to work with him in pre-season but then he was out for several weeks and it's never easy for a young player to come into a good side, we have lots of competition in the striker position,” said Farke.

“What I like about him, he's humble, he likes to work additionally, he's open for hints. It was not a gift or coincidence, he earned this appearance in the starting line-up. He was there with a good performance away at Plymouth but for offensive players it's more pleasing when you're there with end product. I think it was a major step in his development, we're all happy we have him and he signed a long term contract. It was a key piece of business.”