Ian Poveda has found chances difficult to come by at Leeds United this season but he made a big statement to Marcelo Bielsa with his performance against Liverpool.
The winger, nicknamed ‘The Wizard’ at Brentford [The Athletic] has failed to start a league game this season and had not played a single minute of first-team football since mid-January prior to Monday.
He showed no signs of rustiness, however, and he helped to transform the match in our favour in his 23-minute substitute appearance.
Poveda’s pace and dynamism posed big problems for Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson – something we lacked prior to his arrival on the pitch.
His vision was also excellent, and he frequently tried to find Tyler Roberts and Patrick Bamford in good positions in the penalty box.
And the 19-year-old succeeded on one occasion, putting Roberts through in acres of space for a wonderful chance – the attacking midfielder could only fire straight at Alisson.
That was the one big chance Poveda created, but he also made a key pass and completed one dribble, per SofaScore.
Bielsa should be happy with his impact considering he was not match fit and was coming up against the champions.
Poveda’s ball retention likely would have pleased his manager too, as he lost possession just five times and had 83% pass accuracy.
Per Sky Sports’ live blog, Poveda “made a difference” to the Leeds attack, injecting pace and energy by running at players.
Helder Costa, the player he replaced, failed to demonstrate such qualities.
The 27-year-old has been very inconsistent this season – he did well for our first goal at Manchester City but simply was not in the game on Monday.
Poveda may have given Bielsa some thinking to do because of that.
His hunger and drive to impress – backed up by his quality – was a statement that he deserves a start.
The former Man City star has been patient and professional throughout the campaign and has featured in just 11 league games.
Now it is time to give him a proper chance to see what he can do.
In other Leeds United news, a well-known pundit has detailed Marcelo Bielsa’s stance on Tottenham after Jim White moots Leeds exit.