West Brom starlet Jonathan Leko shines in a central role for young lions
Jonathan Leko’s impressive start to the season continued – with the Albion youngster amongst the pick of the players as England Under-20s took on Holland in Shrewsbury.
The 20-year-old is currently flourishing on loan at Charlton where he has scored once and registered two assists in five Championship outings.
Primarily deployed as a winger when he’s played for Albion’s first team, Leko has been playing as a central striker for the Addicks.
He has struck up an excellent partnership at The Valley with Lyle Taylor – a player who has shone in League One over the last two years.
And, wearing the number nine shirt, he was utilised as the central striker by the young lions in a 4-2-3-1 system tonight.
It took Leko just 20 seconds to make an impression with the forward seeing a low drive from 20 yards saved by Mike van de Meulenhof.
And he proved to be England’s most dangerous player for the rest of the half.
Constantly on the move, Leko consistently drew fouls and impressed with his hold-up play.
On the half-four, the striker won a free-kick on the edge of the box after holding off four players.
He also showed his trickery on the ball, pace and directness with a number of surging runs.
Having had to create his best moments himself, however, Leko cut a frustrated figure as the half-time whistle approached. His supporting cast of Luke Bolton, Angel Gomes and Ryan Giles created little and at times were guilty of not making the most of his movement.
That pattern continued into the second period, with Leko replaced by Reading striker Danny Loader in the 65th minute.
Alongside the forward, Albion’s Nathan Ferguson was also named in the England Under-20 squad but didn’t feature in Shropshire.
The 18-year-old has made five appearances in the Championship this season.
But it was Cheslea’s Tariq Lamptey who was given the nod at right-back by manager – and former Baggies coach – Keith Downing.
Goalkeeper Josh Griffths, who is just 17 years-old, was also in the squad. But he too remained on the bench with Stoke’s Josef Bursik playing 90 minutes.