Soccer

Leeds forward Willy Gnonto set for full debut in Carabao Cup, hints boss Jesse Marsch

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Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch could be tempted to hand Italy forward Willy Gnonto his full debut for the club in their Carabao Cup tie at Wolves.

The 19-year-old has made only two substitute appearances for Leeds since signing from Zurich for a reported £3.8million in September.

But during both cameo roles – in recent wins against Liverpool and Bournemouth – Gnonto showed why he has made six appearances for Roberto Mancini’s Italy, including three starts.

Marsch said after Gnonto had set up Crysencio Summerville for Leeds’ late winner in Saturday’s 4-3 victory against Bournemouth that the teenager had staked his claim for a first start.

Gnonto and Joe Gelhardt could be among several changes as Marsch considers handing more of his youngsters game time at Molineux.

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“Certainly Willy, I think Joffy (Gelhardt) as well,” the American said. “He hasn’t always played as much, but in training he’s been putting a lot into it and been really effective and performing well.

“Obviously now we see Crysencio at a really high level. A lot of these young guys are pushing. And again, I always try to mention Mateo (Joseph) and Sonny (Perkins) as well, because we really like those guys.”

Gnonto ran half the length of the field before slipping in Summerville for his winning goal against Bournemouth, while the pair have become close pals since the former’s arrival at Elland Road.

Marsch is convinced that friendship can blossom on the pitch and serve Leeds well.

“You can see it swelling, you can see it growing and it’s great,” Marsch added. “I think they have a really strong friendship.

“If we can build them up and continue to use their youthful talent and enthusiasm and desire to improve and fearlessness, that can be a good recipe for success, even with young players.”

Patrick Bamford is not expected to feature at Wolves. He missed out at the weekend after hurting his hip in training on Friday.

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Colombia winger Luis Sinisterra (foot) has been ruled out until after the World Cup and Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw remain long-term absentees.

Otherwise, Marsch has plenty of options, with the likes of Mateusz Klich, Sam Greenwood, who stepped off the bench to score on Saturday, Diego Llorente, Luke Ayling, Junior Firpo and under-21s midfielder Darko Gyabi all in contention.

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