Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has refused to confirm whether Charlie Cresswell is set for a Premier League debut after impressing in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

Leeds managed to edge out Championship side Fulham on penalties, with Cresswell earning rave reviews for his performance.

Tuesday’s win means they will now travel to Arsenal in the next round. 

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Bielsa is currently without a number of defensive options, with the likes of Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Luke Ayling all with injury issues whilst Pascal Struijk still has one match remaining on his ban after his red card in the defeat to Liverpool.

This leaves Liam Cooper as the only real recognised central defender available, with Kalvin Phillips capable to drop back if needed.

Having impressed for Mark Jackson’s Under-23 side, this gave 19-year-old Cresswell the chance to step up and stake his claim for regular league minutes.

According to the Yorkshire Post, when asked if Cresswell was ready for a Premier League start, the Argentine had this to say: “I wouldn’t have any inconveniences.

“The performance from the other day was not a definitive performance, but I have no argument to say that he took advantage of the opportunity he was given and he deserved it.

“He observed in the game against Newcastle after we took Ayling off. I pushed (Jamie) Shackleton in as a defensive midfielder and put (Kalvin) Phillips into the back line in place of Cresswell coming on for Ayling, which would have been more natural.

“That indicates a position of mind in respect to Cresswell. After the game against Fulham, taken a significant step forward and I have to read that message.”

Bielsa also confirmed he will still be without a number of key players for this weekend’s home fixture against West Ham, something that could benefit Cresswell.

“Llorente, Koch and Bamford won’t be available. The rest of them, I couldn’t tell you either way.

“Don’t think I’m holding back information. Players are subject to the evolution of whether it will allow them to play. If I said whether they definitely were or were not going to play then I would not be certain. So I cannot confirm either alternative.”


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