Leeds United – Match Report vs Derby County – 19/7/2020

This game came around at the end of a weekend that saw Leeds earn promotion from the Championship and win the league in the space of two days as results went their way. This meant that Bielsa, somewhat uncharacteristically rotated the side a lot which meant we got to see some players who wouldn’t normally get so many minutes. Leeds played their usual 4-1-4-1, they didn’t dominate the ball as well as they usually did in a game that lacked a bit of the usual intensity with both teams fates for next season confirmed.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Ian Carlo Poveda

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: English/Colombian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 9/2/2000
  • Club: Leeds United
  • Career: Barcelona (Y), Brentford (Y), Man City (Y), Leeds
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Poveda was one of the standout players in this match, he was lively for most of his time on the pitch, especially during the first half before being replace in the 77th minute. He was able to cause problems for Derby with his pace and agility. He was very direct whenever he picked the ball up as he looked to drive at defenders and cause problems for them. His first touch and ball control in general was very good, he was able to keep the ball close while running at speed. His close control allowed him to be effective in tight spaces out on the touch line and he was able to play some intricate passes to get out of trouble.

His quickness on and off the ball meant he could draw defenders into him before driving away from them or passing the ball on. He showed a good passing range and was able to play a few expansive passes to spread the play but he generally kept his passing shorter and he picked good, sensible passing options.

He preferred to work with the ball at his feet but he was able to find space out wide as well as in the box. He made some good runs across the near post and to the back post, but he was caught offside in some promising attacks as he couldn’t hold his run well enough. On one occasion he was able to put the ball in the net with an assured first touch and finish before being flagged offside.

He worked fairly hard when pressing but the opposition found it easy to bypass him at times and his defensive attributes weren’t the ones that stood out in this game. At 5’5″ he did struggle physically and isn’t quite fully developed. He could fill out a bit and work on his upper body strength but it seems unlikely that his physicality will ever be a huge plus.

Rating – A2

Pascal Struijk

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 11/08/1999
  • Club: Leeds United
  • Career: ADO Den Haag (Y), Ajax (Y), Leeds
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Back, Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Struijk started this game as Leeds’ defensive midfielder, after putting in a good performance as a substitute in the previous game. At 6’2″ he was able to cope physically and was strong in the air when challenged.

In what was his first start for Leeds’ he put in an accomplished performance in a position that is key in Leeds’ system. He was positionally very good, he was in the right place to cut out a number of Derby moves and pick up loose balls in potentially dangerous areas. He had average pace and acceleration but coupled with his positioning it was more than good enough for him to make good recovery runs in transition and provide cover for defenders that were out of position.

With the full backs pushed on so high, Struijk was an important option for playing out of defence. He was always happy to receive the ball and made good angles when the centre backs were being pressed. He was comfortable stepping up with the ball and showed some good skill to get away from the opposition once or twice. He had quick feet and thoughts to evade some pressure and his technical ability was impressive for a bigger man playing up from usual position.

He showed a good passing range as he was able to hit some good diagonal and long range passes to get his teammates away out wide. He also showed confidence in himself to attempt some long range shots once or twice although they didn’t threaten the goal.

Rating – A2

To make one criticism he seemed to be very one footed and actively tried to avoid using his right foot whenever he could. With some more minutes under his belt, perhaps on loan in the Championship, it’s not difficult to see him plying his trade in a top division in Europe with his understanding of the game and technique from the back.

Jamie Shackleton

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 8/10/1999
  • Club: Leeds United
  • Career: Leeds United
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Shackleton played alongside Pablo Hernandez in the middle of the park, he had a solid game and topped it off with a goal. Despite being 5’6″, Shackleton performs well in physical battles. He is able to use his body and low centre of gravity well to hold off bigger attackers and in situations he was mismatched he was able to be a nuisance to the opposition and force mistakes.

Shackleton had a fairly quiet game mostly but a good one. He was defensively disciplined throughout, as Hernandez had more of an attacking role, Shackleton provided important cover for the full backs who pushed high and he was very comfortable slotting in at the right back position and being part of the defensive line. He is quick and agile which helps him to press effectively, he can quickly change direction to follow and cut out a pass.

As the game wore on, he increasingly found himself in space out wide as the right back would underlap and come in centrally. He was effective in wide areas, had a good first touch and was able to link up with Poveda on the wing well. His goal came from a good run from out wide to the middle of the box, he was able to ghost in behind the full back and run beyond the defence before lifting a composed finish past the goalkeeper at the near post.

Rating – B1

Shackleton could be a fantastic player for most Championship sides and with more experience he could be pushed to an A2 but he is a good talent who will hopefully get some minutes in the Premier League.

Tyler Roberts

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Welsh
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 12/1/1999
  • Club: Leeds United
  • Career: West Brom (Y), Oxford United (L), Shrewsbury (L), Walsall (L), Leeds United
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

This game saw Roberts start in his preferred striker role rather than playing in behind the striker like in previous games. It seemed clear that he felt more natural and comfortable in this role, his positional tendencies suit that of a striker much more.

From early in the game Robert proved to be a threat to Derby, he was always looking to get on the ball and cause problems in the penalty area. He perhaps had a bit of tunnel vision in this match as he seemed determined to get himself a goal. He did well on a number of occasions to work himself space on the ball to create a shooting chance but he wasn’t really able to trouble the keeper too much. He was confident on the ball and he was able to manipulate it well to beat defenders and create space to play in.

He worked hard up and pressed well from the front, he did a lot of unselfish running which paid off as he was able to make good runs into wide areas and in the channels to receive balls over the top, he was able to link up with team mates with some good short passing moves and one twos from these situations. His first touch was good and he made some good outside to inside runs to find space in front of the goalposts. He was more than comfortable coming deep to get on the ball and he was able to influence the game from these positions. He got an assist by coming deep, drawing defenders out and playing a well weighted through ball to Shackleton for his goal.

In possession he is confident in his ability but that sometimes translates as him being a bit casual on the ball, looking lazy and picking the wrong or an over ambitious pass and giving up possession. His all round play as a forward was impressive but his shooting was lacking in this game,

Rating – B1

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