Gary Rowett believes Leeds United defender Charlie Cresswell will go onto become a ‘top player’ after his loan spell at Millwall.

Rowett was speaking to London News Online, where he discussed the potential of bringing Cresswell back to the Den, as well as how far he believes he could go in the game.

Despite netting a brace on his debut, Cresswell endured a tough start to life in the Championship but grew more and more as the season went on, establishing himself as a key player.

Millwall v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images

In total, the 20-year-old scored five goals in 28 Championship appearances until a fractured eye socket brought his season to a premature end at the beginning of April.

Rowett delivers Cresswell verdict

If Leeds are relegated on Sunday it is likely Cresswell will have an important part to play next season after proving he has what it takes to cope with the Championship during his loan spell.

He is clearly a big talent with the young centre back having become a regular for England U21s ahead of the EUROs this summer.

Rowett is of the opinion that Cresswell will go on to become a ‘top player’ and recognises his return is only likely to happen if Leeds can stay in the Premier League.

“He is going to be a top centre-half and a top player – certainly in the second half of the season we saw that oozing out.

“He was absolutely fantastic before his injury. He was a really big loss to us.

“It’s not fair for me to comment on other club’s position on their players but I would imagine if Leeds are in the Championship next season then he would have that experience and a chance of staking a claim for them.

“If Leeds are in the Premier League then I suppose they would have a conversation of which way they want to go – Charlie may be part of that or he may not. He has developed well and shown what he is about. Another strong season next year and he is not far away from being a Premier League player.

“We knew he was a big talent. He found the challenges of the Championship straight away – in that it’s not always easy to play the game in a certain way. You have to be able to adjust and learn some of the little nuances of it.

“I think he’d be the first one to admit that in the opening months of the season he had some tough moments in games but he performed really consistently throughout.

“He probably made better decisions as the season went on and some of those big moments didn’t happen in the second half of it – therefore you can focus on his really, really strong performances.”

Millwall v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship
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This is good to hear and shows Leeds will have a ready made Championship centre back ready to make an impact from the off they are relegated.

The loan spell worked out exactly how Leeds will have envisaged last summer, with Cresswell overcoming the adversities of professional football early on to come out the other side and show huge signs of improvement.

He is one of a number of youngsters at Leeds who have a genuinely realistic opportunity of pushing into the first team.

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