Leeds starlet Tom Pearce picks great time for excellent under-23 display

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to kick off in the Sky Bet Championship League match between Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers, at Elland Road Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Leeds,...

Tom Pearce was a second-half substitute as Leeds United's under-23s beat Crewe at Thorp Arch.

Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Leeds United at Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.

With first-team boss Thomas Christiansen watching from the sidelines, a left-back position that is proving problematic and a League Cup tie just around the corner, Tom Pearce may have felt somewhat disappointed that he began Leeds' under-23 side's clash with their Crewe counterparts on the bench.

The Whites have struggled to find the ideal player on the left-hand side of defence with Gaetano Berardi and Vurnon Anita both enduring difficult afternoons in the role in recent weeks, and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson struggling to earn chances since arriving at Elland Road on loan in the summer.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to kick off in the Sky Bet Championship League match between Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers, at Elland Road Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Leeds,...

It was Liam Kitching who began the game at Thorp Arch on the left. And while the 18-year-old did well during the first-half, it was the introduction of Pearce at half-time that seemed to have a major impact on how the rest of the game played out.

The 19-year-old looked incredibly dangerous down the left-hand side, putting in numerous crosses that Crewe looked unable to deal with and often had to desperately scramble away. 

He also took a brilliant free-kick midway through the second-half that was surely the closest the Whites had come to scoring until that point, and probably remained that way until Alex Machuca bagged the late winner.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

It would certainly be a gamble for Christiansen to throw Pearce in off the back of one performance, especially as he was rarely needed at the back during the half. But the threat he provided going forward certainly suggests that he is one to keep a very close eye on as he was arguably the player - perhaps along with Jack Clarke - who looked most like creating the chance that would lead to the winner.

And with a League Cup game to play before the end of the month, perhaps Christiansen should consider taking that risk in the hope that Pearce is capable of announcing himself in the first-team in the same way that fellow left-back Tyler Denton did in the same competition one year ago.

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