Second Leeds United youngster earns major international call-up after new contract development

Leeds United youngster Mateo Joseph has officially declared for the Spanish national team after switching his international allegiance from England.

Joseph has been called up by the country of his birth this month and is expected to make his Spain Under-21 debut against Slovakia and Belgium. The 20-year-old Leeds forward had previously represented England at youth level, qualifying for the Young Lions through his father, however an 'emergency naturalisation process' reinstating his Spanish citizenship and ratified with UEFA means Joseph can no longer switch back to England at a later date.

Spain are likely to qualify for next summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship - a tournament they have won a record five times, most recently in 2019 with a squad that featured Leeds duo Junior Firpo and Marc Roca. Last summer, United defender Charlie Cresswell was among the England group who defeated Spain in the 2023 U21 EURO tournament finale. During the latest qualification cycle, Spain currently top of their group with four wins and one draw from five matches, ahead of Scotland and Belgium, both of whom have accrued 10 points and are three off the Spaniards' pace.

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U21s head coach Santi Denia has brought Joseph into the ranks of La Rojita on the back of his performances for Leeds in recent weeks, bolstering an attacking arsenal already boasting Atletico Madrid forward Samu Omorodion who has scored freely on loan at Deportivo Alaves throughout 2023/24.

Joseph was born in Cantabria and developed at local side Racing Santander before joining Espanyol's academy ranks, where he alerted several high-profile clubs. In January 2022, the youngster signed permanently with Leeds and has this year broken onto the fringes of Daniel Farke's first-team group, scoring a brace against Premier League side Chelsea in the FA Cup last month.

Earlier this year, Joseph signed a new contract at Elland Road keeping him at the club until the summer of 2028.

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