MOT View: The value of the Leeds unsung hero leading the Premier League
Leeds United utility man Stuart Dallas has climbed his way up to the Premier League the hard way, via the IFA Premiership and League One.
Arriving in England with Brentford back in 2012, he did not play in the Championship until turning 23 and even then he was used as an attacking winger.
That season, he scored six goals and provided two assists from 38 appearances for the Bees and earned a move to Leeds the following summer.
The versatile player’s real quality was not recognised until the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa though and in nearly two and a half years, he has become one of Leeds’ most important players. Since the start of their promotion season last year Dallas has missed just one match, playing as a left-back, right-back, central midfielder and winger.
However, it would be unfair to simply paint Dallas as a utility man. Increasingly, he is one of the best full-backs in the division, with no player winning possession more regularly than the Northern Irishman (via Amazon Prime).
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) November 5, 2020
Despite playing in a back four, he averages one shot, 0. 4 key passes and 0.7 dribbles per game. He attempts 58.9 passes on average, at a 80.3% success rate, while he also makes 2.9 long passes per game.
Meanwhile, Dallas plays a crucial role in Leeds’ press. Dallas completes more pressures in the defensive third than anyone else in the squad, while he ranks third for pressure in middle third on the pitch. Only Liam Cooper completed more successful pressures, while Dallas leads the squad in tackles and is second in terms of interceptions (via FBRef). As per Premier League PPDA, Leeds and the most intense pressing side in the division, and it is clear that Dallas plays a vital role in this.
Premier League PPDA – Measuring the intensity of a teams pressing, the lower the PPDA the more intense the press.
– #lufc and #saintsfc leading the way
– #afc 18th, #ffc 4th
– #cfc a more intense pressing team than #lfc so far#PL pic.twitter.com/lxZx49PpwJ
— Dom (@DomC0801) November 6, 2020
Despite his immense contribution across the pitch, players like Luke Ayling, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford continue to get more praise. However, it is time Dallas received more recognition for his phenomenal effort and incredible efficiency.
In other Leeds news, ‘Naturally very attacking’ – Bielsa details where he sees Raphinha playing for Leeds