YOUNG colt Charlie Cresswell was put under starter’s orders for his Premiership maiden outing against West Ham just five minutes ahead of the warm-up at Elland Road on Saturday.

On the form he showed on his top flight debut, the York-raised 19-year-old looks a good bet to become a favourite of the Whites’ fans despite the Hammers pipping Leeds at the post.

Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa said: “It was a performance with a lot of personality and character. Very few errors. Composing himself in a very difficult game against a striker (matchwinner Michail Antonio) who is very difficult to neutralise.”

The 2-1 loss leaves Leeds without a win from their opening six league games but Cresswell, whose father played for both Leeds and York City, feels the Whites will soon taste victory.

“Hopefully that win will come soon, very soon,” he told his club’s website.

“I am gutted to have lost. I will have to watch it back to see how I did individually.

“I was told about five minutes before the warm up that I was starting. I went into the dressing room and had to switch my game head on, I felt I adapted quite well.

“He (Bielsa) just wanted me to go out there and do my thing, that’s what got me to this position so just to carry on doing that.”

A week ago, a horse named Bielsa, trained at Hambleton, near Thirsk, by Kevin Ryan, won the Ayr Gold Cup and for most of Saturday’s game Bielsa’s men had their noses in front. But with the winning post coming ever closer, an own goal and a 90th minute strike saw them stumble to a 2-1 defeat in the home straight.

West Ham were quickly into their stride, forcing Ilan Meslier into two fine early saves, but Leeds were soon galloping forward in their usual exuberant style. Tomas Soucek coughed up possession for Rodrigo to find Mateusz Klich whose lay-off was crisply fired home by Raphinha.

The Brazilian nearly added to his 19th minute opener when he shot against an upright before Meslier blocked bravely to deny Pablo Fornals just before the interval.

As the visitors cranked up the second-half pressure, Meslier clawed away a Soucek header after the Czech midfielder had an effort ruled out after VAR consultation because Antonio fouled Meslier in an aerial challenge.

But it was Leeds who should have doubled their lead on 64 minutes when Klich missed a golden chance inside the box. In West Ham’s next attack an unmarked Jarrod Bowen cut in and his shot took a double deflection off Liam Cooper and Junior Firpo past the helpless Meslier.

Moments later major attacking threat Raphinha went off with a muscle injury and West Ham took control but just as a dead heat looked the most likely outcome, David Moyes’ side struck their hammer blow.

Declan Rice’s fine pass enabled Antonio to flick the ball past Jamie Shackleton and calmly finish past the exposed Meslier.

“It’s a game where we did a lot to deserve not to lose,” said Bielsa, who felt his side dropped too deep in the second half.

Leeds United: Meslier, Shackleton (Summerville 90), Cresswell, Cooper, Firpo, Phillips, Klich, Dallas, Raphinha (Roberts 69), James (Harrison HT), Rodrigo. Subs (not used): Klaesson, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Drameh, Greenwood, McCarron. Cautions: Roberts, Meslier

West Ham United: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Fornals (Vlasic 78), Bowen (Dawson 90), Benramha, Antonio (Yarmolenko 90). Subs (not used): Areola, Lanzini, Noble, Diop, Johnson, Kral. Cautions: Fornals, Antonio

Ref: Kevin Friend Att: 36,417