Exclusive: Leeds kids & one senior star wallop first XI in Thorp Arch selection shoot-out
Leeds United Under-23s comprehensively defeated the first team in a specially-arranged training ground match ahead of tomorrow’s big kick-off, Football Insider has learned.
A youth team made up of emerging stars and club-record signing Rodrigo Moreno beat what Marcelo Bielsa considers to be his first XI 3-0 at Thorp Arch on Wednesday.
It was a strong first team lacking only newly-capped England international Kalvin Phillips, who played for his country for the first time the previous evening.
The match was a shortened affair devised by the United manager to prepare his players for Saturday evening’s Premier League opener against Liverpool at Anfield.
Tellingly, as revealed by Football Insider yesterday afternoon, Rodrigo lined up for the Under-23s and Patrick Bamford led the line for the ‘first team’.
That strongly suggests the £27million capture from Valencia will start the season on the bench at Anfield.
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That would be a disappointment to many Leeds fans, despite the immense faith they have in the decisions of the feted Bielsa.
The United faithful were crying out for a centre-forward who could put away the multiple chances created by the team’s fluent and progressive style last season.
Bamford’s work ethic and all-round game was not matched by his composure in front of goal despite the ultimately emphatic title-winning campaign.
Bielsa gave no clues about his possible line-up at his pre-match media conference yesterday.
He explained that he had all his players available for selection, except for long-term absentee Adam Forshaw, and big-money new signings Rodrigo and Robin Koch were “in great physical condition, ready to play.”