Marcelo Bielsa has seemingly suggested that he was pleasantly surprised by Olly Casey’s Leeds United debut, as he insisted that the youngster has developed a lot over the past month, in comments reported by Leeds Live.
Casey came on during the latter stages of the Whites’ 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The teenager has been one of the standout performers in the under-23s for some time.
Nevertheless, it was still something of a surprise to see Casey get the nod ahead of the likes of Robbie Gotts and Jack Clarke, who were also on the bench at the John Smith’s Stadium.
But Bielsa explained after the victory that he had seen a lot of progress from the academy prospect over the last few weeks. He later seemed to suggest that he felt that the gamble to use the youngster paid off.
“Olly is a player who has developed a lot in the last month. He has a good character. He has a good defensive presence on the pitch. It’s another player from the academy that allows us to have more solutions. In our time here in Leeds the academy was very important for us in the first team,” he said, as reported by Leeds Live.
“There are players that are weak mentally. Those players need more time,” he went on to add. “There are other kinds, who are stronger mentally. They are ready to have a good answer in their first matches, but after you can [only] verify this when you put the player in the pitch. I was sure Olly could play today, but I wasn’t sure he would have a performance like today: calm and regular with balance. Players can demonstrate this from match to match. Of course, they need a lot of matches to prove this.”
Casey certainly gave a good account of himself during his short time on the pitch. He looked composed on the ball, and he took up a lot of good positions. He was comfortable pushing into the middle or dropping into the backline.
Casey may not have got many touches of the ball. But it was an extremely bright debut. And it will surely not be too long before he is getting another chance to impress for Bielsa’s men.