Mark Jackson hails youngsters as Leeds United's Under-23s topple 'experienced' Middlesbrough

The Whites development side defeated Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon.

By Joe Urquhart
Sunday, 7th February 2021, 6:45 pm
Leeds United Under-23s boss Mark Jackson. Pic: LUFC
Leeds United Under-23s boss Mark Jackson. Pic: LUFC

Leeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson hailed Thorp Arch's youngsters after an impressive win over Middlesbrough.

The Whites development side secured a 4-2 victory at Rockliffe Park on Sunday afternoon in Premier League 2 action as they extended their lead at the top of the second division to 12 points.

United relied on a relatively young squad for the trip to Teesside with 16-year-old Max Dean starting the encounter along with a number of Under-18s featuring in the travelling contingent.

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The likes of Under-23s regulars Elia Caprile (19), Sam Greenwood (18), Joe Gelhardt (18), Jack Jenkins (18) and Olly Casey (20) all started with Kris Moore (17), Charlie Allen (17) and Cole Gibbon (18) finishing the match from the bench.

Middlesbrough named a more experienced line-up which featured the likes of senior striker Ashley Fletcher and defender Grant Hall as the duo returned from injuries.

Under-18s top scorer Dean opened the scoring after just three minutes before Leeds raced into a four-goal lead at the half-time interval.

Nohan Kenneh and a brace from Joe Gelhardt saw Jackson's outfit claim the spoils despite a second half double from Cain Sykes for the hosts.

"It's a pleasing win," Jackson reflected post-match.

"I thought we played some fantastic stuff in the first half. I thought we deserved to be four goals up at half-time.

"We created chances. We played with quality. We always knew it was going to be tough, they had an experienced team out. It was disappointing to concede the two goals in the second half but I thought the lads showed fight and determination.

"We have an identity with how we want to play and how we want to attack teams. They had to cope in a different way in the second half - to be strong and be together as a team to get the three points."

Asked about the young line-up, Jackson added: "We've got a number of Under-18s who finished on the pitch. It's what we're about - promoting the young players.

"I thought they came in and did fantastically well in difficult conditions. It's a learning curve for a lot of the young players."