Jesse Marsch has applauded Willy Gnonto in what was the teen’s first start for Leeds United on Saturday, despite his side’s 4-3 loss to Tottenham – telling Leeds Live that Gnonto plays as if he is a lot older than just 19 years old.

Gnonto, 19, had come on in Leeds’ last two Premier League matches – supplying the cross for the winner against Liverpool. Then, against Bournemouth, it was his run and pass to Crysencio Summerville that won Leeds the game.

With Jack Harrison missing, Gnonto was given a start. He and Summerville provided the width as Leeds came close to an upset in London. Italy international Gnonto struggled to have a real impact, and was taken off at half-time.

Marsch spoke after the game, stating that his decision to remove £16k-a-week Gnonto – for Sam Greenwood – was tactical. To go 4-3-3. He heaped praise on the Italy star after the match, saying he plays like a player older than him.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United - Premier League
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“In general, we really like Willy. I think his mentality to improve, his understanding of tactics, his intelligence, they’re all at a really high level. So for a young player, he doesn’t play like a young player which is great to see,” Marsch said.

“He was really effective off the bench against Bournemouth. He was also good in this match but when we looked at the fact that we needed to make some tactical changes, we thought that that made the most sense to take him off.”

Marsch has applauded Gnonto despite Leeds loss to Tottenham

It has been something Leeds fans have wanted to see for a while. He eventually got his chance and while he was the victim of a tactical change from Marsch – despite Leeds leading 2-1 at half-time – he will have impressed in London.

On the whole, Leeds were unlucky not to nab a point at Spurs – a result which would have been fair. But our downfall was two-fold. Harry Kane’s equaliser allowing to stand, and our struggling defence. Poor mistakes cost us throughout.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United - Premier League
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