Leeds United attacker Tyler Roberts played against the world’s number one team last night when he came on in the 67th minute for Wales against Belgium.
And one of his former managers, Tony Pulis, heaped praise on him on the BBC commentary of the game [starts 1:25]
“I had Tyler at West Brom and gave him his league debut,” Pulis said.
“He’s a very very talented boy. And I mean a very talented boy. He has got everything.
“I was always concerned whether he had the mental toughness to really push on. At Leeds, if you haven’t got that Bielsa isn’t going to play you.
“The kid has pushed on. It’s great to see all the young players you’ve worked with, especially the ones you had a little bit of doubt with, come through and he’s one of them.
“It’s really nice, I really do enjoy players that go on to do as well as you think they could if their attitudes are right.
“He’s got all the tools, like I said, it was just that mental strength. People say, ‘Does he want it enough, is he prepared to push it’, but over the past couple of years it looks like he’s turned a corner.”
Wales ended up losing the match 3-1 after threatening an early shock after Harry Wilson gave the visitors the lead from a brilliant passage of one-touch football.
Kevin De Bruyne equalised for Belgium before goals from Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku gave the home side the points.
Crunch time at Leeds
Roberts has played maybe more than he would have thought for Leeds this season after injuries to the squad.
He’s made 18 appearances in the Premier League with eight starts but he’s still looking for his first Premier League goal.
He’s been unlucky recently. He’s had a goal disallowed against West Ham for a very marginal offside and also had a couple of assists ruled out in recent games.
"It is fine margins" 📏
Tyler Roberts had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out by VAR because Helder Costa was only just offside ❌
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 8, 2021
He was also given the man-of-the-match award in the game against Chelsea when he put in probably his best display of the season.
There was growing speculation around Leeds that he could be pushed out on loan or even moved on, but his recent displays have changed a lot of minds in the fanbase.
He was given a 6.07 rating by WhoScored for his cameo for his country last night but experience at playing at this level can only do him good.
Roberts is still only 22 but is at that critical point in his career. The next pre-season and Premier League campaign will really define his role at Leeds – as either regular starter or squad player.
In other Leeds United news, BBC broadcaster claims Leeds youngster would start for best team in the world