A number of Under-23 stars have been training with the Leeds United first team this season but it appears the youngest of the lot has now been called-up – in the form of 17-year-old Nohan Kenneh, after Leeds posted a video on their official website, ahead of Saturday evening’s match against Everton at Goodison Park.
Mark Jackson replaced Carlos Corberan as Under-23 manager in the summer with the latter becoming Huddersfield Town boss. He has impressed as boss, especially given Leeds’ second string have gained promotion to Premier League 2 – where they are facing much stronger opponents.
The standard names of Sam Greenwood, Joe Gelhardt, Jack Jenkins and Charlie Cresswell continue to make headway with the second string and have been training with Bielsa’s men for some time. But the odd new face continues to be thrown into senior training at Thorp Arch – and a video posted on the club’s website has confirmed a new promoted player.
However, this one is slightly different. In the Leeds Under-23 side, many players are 18, 19 or even 20 years of age. But England youth international Kenneh is still a baby, only turning 18 in January and born in 2003. He has starred for the reserves, playing at centre-back when Cresswell or Olly Casey need replacing. With Casey playing in midfield on occasion, he has also stepped in.
Bielsa is renowned for his faith in youth. At Leeds, he has brought through the likes of Jamie Shackleton, Leif Davis, Jack Clarke, Robbie Gotts, Jordan Stevens, Alfie McCalmont and plenty of others highly-rated youngsters. But Kenneh is younger than any of those players when they first made their breakthrough.
It is quite significant that the central defender has been included in senior training, then. While a first-team opportunity is expected to be some way away, the video (below) shows Kenneh running on the outside of Pascal Strujk – another defender Bielsa has brought into the first team.