By Saikat Mandal

17th Jan, 2022 | 11:30am

Garth Crooks raves about Leeds United winger Raphinha

Garth Crooks has delivered heaps of praise on Leeds United winger Raphinha after the Whites earned a 3-2 win against West Ham in the Premier League clash on Sunday (16 January).

Jack Harrison scored a brilliant hat-trick for the Whites as they registered back-to-back Premier League wins.

The BBC pundit has suggested that Raphinha reminds him of great Brazilian players like Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, and added that he is a joy to watch.

Writing on his Team of the Week column for BBC Sport, Crooks notes:

“There aren’t many footballers I enjoy watching as much as I do Raphinha. He’s a throwback to the Rivaldos and Ronaldinho’s of yesteryear. The Brazilian’s game is so elegant and delightful to watch.

“Like so many Brazilian players, he treats the ball with the utmost respect, almost as if it were a friend. Without Raphinha, Leeds would not have won at West Ham. Jack Harrison will get all the headlines but there is only one star in Leeds United’s show and it’s Raphinha.”

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In the absence of Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, Raphinha has grown into Leeds’ key player this season under Marcelo Bielsa.

Last season, he showed glimpses of his vast talent, but it seems he has taken his game to a whole new level in the present campaign.

Blessed with skills and pace, Raphinha also has the vision to pick the right passes. On top of that, he puts in a lot of defensive shifts – a complete package.

Against the Hammers, he was at his creative best, making as many as seven key passes during the game.

The 25-year-old also attempted three shots and provided one assist, according to whoscored.

He has also made one tackle and one clearance as well to round off a memorable performance for the visitors.

Crooks is absolutely right that Raphinha was the main architect behind the win, although Harrison deservedly will grab the headlines.  

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared if the Whites are in the ‘advanced’ stages of any January signings