By Nick Ware

8th Apr, 2021 | 6:30pm

Jonny Howson hails Leeds trio amid big Bielsa influence

Ex-Leeds United captain Jonny Howson has waxed lyrical about Marcelo Bielsa’s current Whites side and praised them for taking the steps he couldn’t.

Howson, 32, was born and bred in West Yorkshire and rose through the Whites youth ranks before going on to make over 200 first-team appearances and being named captain of his boyhood club.

Speaking on talkSPORT’s White and Jordan show [10:00, 08/04/21] the Middlesbrough midfielder praised the progress made by Leeds under Bielsa and name-checked three stars who have hit new heights under El Loco.

“I think when I played there we had a very good side, we just came short a couple of times and couldn’t take that next step,” he said.

“This side has obviously done that and kicked on again this season, whether you’re a Leeds fan or not everyone’s enjoyed watching them, it’s the team that you want on the TV because they’re big entertainment, they bring goals and let’s be honest, that’s what we want to see.

“Bielsa has taken a lot of them lads not to the next level, but probably three or four steps if you like, it’s terrific to see.

“Yeah okay they’ve added two or three very good players as well but that main core of players, the [Liam] Cooper’s, [Stuart] Dallas’, [Luke] Ayling’s that have been there when he took over, they’ve gone along with the manager and taken them steps and kept going and long may it continue.”

Value of Bielsa

Howson was at the right club at the wrong time.

He made his debut a couple of years after the Whites dropped down from the Premier League and it was pretty much downhill from there as he suffered the humiliation of relegation in his maiden campaign.

After three seasons in the third-tier he returned to the Championship with Leeds before being sold to Premier League Norwich City in 2012.

How he could’ve done with the hand of Bielsa to take the Whites to the next level.

Meanwhile Cooper, Dallas and Ayling, who have all made over 20 league appearances this season, have been beneficiaries of Bielsa’s tutelage as they have been transformed from Championship also-rans to consistent Premier League performers.

As Howson alluded to they have been the main core of the side that has been inspired to dizzy heights under Bielsa and the sky is the limit as they continue to reach new levels despite their advancing years.

In other Leeds United news, Whites ace admits inner rage despite 2-1 win over Sheffield United.