Leeds United’s under-21s sealed their first win in the Papa John’s Trophy last night as they edged past League Two side Oldham Athletic 3-2.
The Whites’ youth investment in the past two summers has been instrumental in developing the strength of the youth sides as they take on the PL2.
Alongside that is the chance to face off with senior sides in the Papa John’s Trophy and gain crucial exposure.
After fielding a very young side to face Tranmere Rovers in the first fixture, Leeds faced Oldham Athletic with a side much closer to ‘full-strength’ from the youth ranks.
The likes of Crysencio Summerville, Lewis Bate and, Sean McGurk caught the eye as Leeds ran out 3-2 winner but it was a milestone for new signing Leo Hjelde as he was named captain for the game.
He was brought off at half-time, but he’s already demonstrating qualities much akin to his breakthrough partner, Charlie Cresswell.
Speaking to Leeds Live after the game, under-23 head coach Mark Jackson had this to say:
“I see good leadership qualities in Leo [Hjelde]. I have done for a while when I’ve been watching him throughout the summer, before he signed for the club.
“I did that a lot with Charlie Cresswell throughout the time I worked with him from when he was an U-16, through the 18s and in the 23s as well and I see certain qualities in Leo as well.”
It looked a very smart signing from the outset really, with how he fared last term on loan at Ross County.
Hjelde has played senior football a lot already for a centre-back and the overall reaction of the Celtic fan base shows you they know they’ve lost a real talent.
It’s great to see that we’ve got a real pairing at the back in the under-23s after Olly Casey left, because it’s something we needed to get right.
Hopefully, he continues to progress and follows to path laid out by Cresswell in getting his first-team chance.