Marcelo Bielsa’s side sits top of the Championship table after 37 games with 71 points, and whilst the current pandemic has brought the season to a current halt, there’s no denying the Leeds squad have had an exceptional second season under Bielsa. So who has been the Leeds United Player of the Season so far? It’s fair to say a team sitting top of the table may have a few candidates. We have narrowed down the nominees to a selection of four.
The Leeds Player of the Season Candidates
Bids of over £20 million were reportedly rejected for the player dubbed by Leeds fans as the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’. His performances this season have shown why and just how vital he is to the team. An absolute linchpin in his position, which is sitting in front of the back four. Phillips excels at breaking up play and having the vision to pick inch-perfect passes out to the wide players. A transformed man under the Bielsa regime, there were always signs of a good player before the Argentinian head coach came in. However, Bielsa has managed to mould him into the perfect centre defensive midfielder for this Leeds side. Phillips has continued to flourish throughout this season, consistently putting in solid performances.
The jury was still out on Jack Harrison after his first season at the club. A player with a lot of potential, having joined Manchester City from MLS side New York City. Harrison re-signed for Leeds on loan for the 19/20 season, this time with the option to sign him permanently at the end of the season. That deal looks like one Leeds will be keen to get done after Harrison has come on strong this season. With five goals and seven assists, his stats aren’t the most impressive for a winger in this league. Despite this, Harrison has been a constant thorn in the sides of opposition teams this season. His first touch is impeccable and he has showcased his ability much more consistently this season.
After selling fan favourite Pontus Jansson to Championship rivals Brentford last summer, a replacement centre-back was essential. A loanee from Brighton & Hove Albion who had never previously played above League One level initially raised a few eyebrows. However, from his debut, Ben White has been a phenomenal presence in the defensive line and exceeded all expectations. Leeds boast the best defensive record in the league. This is in no small part thanks to White and his partnership with captain, Liam Cooper. White’s ability to read the game, along with his coolness on the ball, is something that has made him an ever-present of this Bielsa side. His performances have led to scouts from Liverpool and other top-six Premier League clubs taking a constant interest in him. Brighton rejected Leeds’s offer to include a permanent clause in the loan agreement which saw White join Leeds last summer, and it has been clear as to why. Leeds must achieve promotion if they have any chance of landing White on a permanent contract. Even in that scenario, they face a tough challenge from a range of clubs if Brighton decide to cash in.
‘Cookstown Cafu’, the ‘Championship James Milner’. A number of different titles have been handed to the versatile Stuart Dallas this season as he has been a staple of this Leeds side. A winger by trade, Dallas has had to adapt to a range of positions under Marcelo Bielsa. However, he has always managed to more than warrant his place in the side with consistently solid performances. Spending time at centre mid as well as both right back and left back, Dallas has showcased his ability to bomb forward and cause considerable damage down opposition flanks. Regardless of position, his work rate has been second to none. It can be said that Dallas has been the epitome of everything good about Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds. Determined, dynamic and dedicated to the system, Dallas has been a constant reminder of the well-oiled machine that is this Leeds United side.
So which player takes the trophy? It’s a tough call to make, and our vote for the Leeds United player of the season would probably edge towards Stuart Dallas. But it is clear to see that these players are all committed to the same cause, and would discard all personal accolades in order to achieve the target of finally winning promotion back to the top division.
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