Although the first squad of Leeds United may not be playing, it hasn’t deterred the under-21 team, who will entertain Southampton on Friday at Elland Road.
Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling, and Junior Firpo were among the first-team players who will participate in the match, it was confirmed earlier in the week via Leeds’ Twitter account.
The 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto, a recent addition to the team, has also been added to the roster of participants in Friday’s game against Southampton’s under-21 team.
He hasn’t yet played for Leeds, but Friday will be his first opportunity to play in a competitive match since moving for £5 million from FC Zurich, according to The Athletic.
The Italian international will appear in the match at some point, BBC Leeds’ Adam Pope confirmed on Twitter.
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Tomorrow night’s game between Leeds United U21s and Southampton U21s will mark Wilfried Gnonto’s debut for the team.
He said that Leeds would have a respectable crowd in attendance, giving Gnonto a taste of the renowned Elland Road atmosphere. The game will also honour Queen Elizabeth II in light of this weekend’s burial, he continued:
“9,000 tickets were sold. The games will be held in accordance with Premier League traditions to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Leeds will be hoping that Gnonto starts off strong right immediately.
It is hoped that he will demonstrate his abilities on the largest stage—the Premier League—and swiftly demonstrate that he is much above development football.
Sonny Perkins and Darko Gyabi were both signed this summer with the intention of one day making the first team, but despite both of their impressive performances, they are still seen as players for the longer term future rather than the immediate future.
One would anticipate him to immediately challenge the players above him in the pecking order given the greater spend on Gnonto. His versatility and ability to play in all four offensive positions—as a striker, backup striker, attacking-midfielder, or winger—should also offer him a better chance to stand out.
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