Five Leeds U23 starlets who must play at West Ham after draw
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Five Leeds U23 starlets who must play at West Ham after draw

Leeds United’s under-23s returned to action with a draw over Sunderland on Wednesday night in the Premier League Cup, days before the first-team face West Ham.

Mark Jackson’s men always attract a strong following. But fans would be forgiven for paying a little more attention to the youngsters ahead of the senior side’s next fixture.

Leeds face the Hammers in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday. Obviously, the competition is not really the priority during this campaign.

And that is likely to be reflected in the team selection. Leeds have been decimated by injuries in recent weeks. And while they are starting to get players back, it seems unlikely that Marcelo Bielsa will take many risks before they take on the Hammers in the league.

With that in mind, Wednesday provided a fantastic opportunity to impress. And it is fair to say several of the under-23s most definitely did, even if they threw away a 3-0 lead in the second-half.

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Here is a look at the starlets who have surely staked a claim for a spot in the Leeds squad for when they face West Ham at the London Stadium…

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Crysencio Summerville

Summerville was the star of the show in York. The winger scored a stunning first-half hat-trick before being replaced at the break. His first finish was delicious, while the latter two were all about the Dutchman demonstrating his composure.

With Jack Harrison and Daniel James dealing with recent injuries, a starting spot at West Ham may not be out of the question for Leeds’ hat-trick hero.

Sam Greenwood

Like Summerville, Sam Greenwood looked a class above against the Black Cats. He was pulling the strings in the number 10 role. And he is ideal for Bielsa given that he can also play up front or as an eight.

Cody Drameh

The right-back left supporters in awe with a volleyed pass that broke the lines in the build-up to the opening goal. That pass came near his own penalty area. And yet, moments later, he was bursting through on the underlap and crossing for Summerville to score.

Cody Drameh has a handful of first-team appearances under his belt. And he will surely feature in some capacity for Leeds against West Ham.

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Max Dean

Leeds will not be particularly hopeful should they pick a youthful side against West Ham. But if they did have a wildcard, it may be Max Dean. The 17-year-old sets the example with how hard he battles. No youngster would probably relish the London Stadium stage more than the forward.

He did not score against Sunderland. But his assist for Summerville’s second was sublime. And he can also contribute from wider roles.

Archie Gray

Archie Gray is yet to make his senior debut for Leeds. But many now know all about the 15-year-old. His inclusion on the bench against Arsenal in December showcased just how bad Leeds’ injury problems had become.

But if Bielsa did not believe that he could not contribute, he would have simply picked eight substitutes instead that night. Gray was impressive in the number eight role against Sunderland. So a first-team debut this weekend – even if he only comes on for the final minutes – is really not out of the question.

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