Stuart Dallas was given a rare opportunity to start in the heart of the Leeds United midfield on Tuesday and he did not disappoint.
Marcelo Bielsa made the bold call not to start Mateusz Klich for the first time in the league this season, favouring Dallas ahead of the Poland international.
It proved an effective move as Leeds earned a 2-1 win, with Dallas putting in a solid performance and winning plaudits from several supporters.
The Northern Ireland international very nearly scored, too, showing brilliant determination to get onto the end of a Raphinha cross early in the second half.
His effort was turned away by goalkeeper Karl Darlow and from then on Dallas was moved to left-back.
The versatile 29-year-old once again proved how valuable he is to the side.
He remained resolute alongside his defensive teammates despite Newcastle ramping up the pressure late on in search of an equaliser.
Many fans have applauded his efforts with some suggestions being made that he does a better job than Klich in the middle of the park.
Need Dallas in midfield. I'd rather have him there then klich. Seems we completely lost control of midfield after that change. #LUFC
— B Manion (@BmManion) January 26, 2021
It was a big call but i think a fair call. I like Alioski on left side. Offers more of a threat than Dallas and Dallas is playing better than Klitch right now
— peter-maurice (@petermauriceuk) January 26, 2021
Such a great player, everything you want. Can play anywhere, always puts in 100% and most importantly, is premier league quality no matter where he plays! What a guy!
— Andrew Radosevic (@AndyDoz) January 26, 2021
That is considerable praise indeed considering Klich has been a mainstay of Bielsa’s plans over the last couple of years.
It shows how highly regarded Dallas is at Elland Road – and how valuable he is to a Bielsa side that is constantly shifting and changing.
Just this season alone, Dallas has played at left-back, right-back and midfield and has never let us down.
Here is some more reaction to his solid display at St. James’ Park.
I love Stuart Dallas. That’s the tweet. #LUFC
— Jordy Phillips (@JordyP1993) January 26, 2021
Dallas bringing out his inner Maradona #lufc
— Spencer (@SpencerLUFC) January 26, 2021
Leeds born dallas had a right game.
— Jack whittaker (@Jackwhittaker2) January 26, 2021
Win ugly. Thank you. Made heavy weather of that.
Seem to have lost all those nice passing triangles.
Well safe of relegation easily.
— PhilF (@Its_PhilF) January 26, 2021
In other Leeds United news, ‘Paintbrush of a left foot’ – BT Sport pundit gushes over Leeds ace after tough win v Newcastle.