By Mark Smith

16th Nov, 2020 | 6:10pm

'I love him to bits' - International player blown away by Leeds star hitting milestone

Northern Ireland forward Josh Magennis has been blown away by the up-turn of Leeds United defender Stuart Dallas.

The ‘Cookstown Cafu’ earned his 50th cap for his country last week and captained them to a 2-1 defeat against Austria on Sunday evening.

To add to that, Dallas should make his 200th appearance for the Whites in their Premier League clash with Arsenal on Sunday afternoon – making it a near-perfect week.

Speaking after the match, Magennis couldn’t hide his delight for Dallas, who he has been playing with for many years on the international stage.

“It means everything too him,” he said.

“He’s just a whole-hearted guy. He’s loved by everyone, I love him to bits. It just shows in just how people interact with him, it shows his attitude, his determination.

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“It’s great from where he started. He’s never looked back – I wish him all the best because he fully deserves it.”

Magennis was in awe of his international teammate, and couldn’t hide his delight behind his rise to the top after starting in the lower-levels.

Marcelo Bielsa has transformed the career of Dallas, but the player himself also deserves huge amounts of credit for his work off the pitch.

Looking back on when he first arrived at Elland Road, the 29-year-old was primarily used as a winger, and often started on the bench more times than not.

Constant injuries to Barry Douglas after he signed led to Dallas being used in defence, and now he is one of the best around in that position.

Only Allan of Everton has made more tackles in the entire Premier League, and he is in the thick of the action in midfield – not bad company to keep.

Dallas has the respect of everyone close to him, and he is really starting to make a real name for himself outside of that this season.

In other Leeds United news, Whites & Scotland fans react to Liam Cooper v Slovakia

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