By Nick Ware

6th Nov, 2021 | 7:10pm

Leeds United loanee Ian Poveda scores first senior goal for Blackburn, Jeff Stelling reacts

Leeds United winger Ian Poveda scored his first goal in senior football on Saturday afternoon as Blackburn Rovers beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Ewood Park.

Poveda, 21, joined Blackburn on a season-long loan in August after he fell down the pecking order at Elland Road.

After an assist on his debut for Tony Mowbray’s side against Middlesbrough (August 28), the ex-Manchester City academy graduate has found life tough in Lancashire, making just five further appearances before Saturday.

However, he was handed a rare start against the Blades, and he took his opportunity with both hands, scoring and registering an assist.

Neil Mellor paid tribute to Poveda for his assist on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, saying: “Poveda, making his first home start here this season in the league, on loan from Leeds United, does great down the right-hand side. [He] wriggles himself into the penalty area, fires a ball across the six-yard box and there is the Chilean international Ben Brereton-Diaz, [who] taps it in from inside the six-yard box. 2-1.”

On Poveda’s goal, Mellor later said: “A special moment for young Ian Poveda, who is on loan from Leeds United. His first league goal, credit to Brereton-Diaz in the build-up, he carries the ball 30/40-yards towards the Sheffield United penalty area, he gives the ball to Poveda whose shot is saved but then he keeps his composure, he mops up the rebound, goes round the goalkeeper and fires it in.”

Jeff Stelling added: “His first senior goal and a nice little cushion for Blackburn Rovers against Sheffield United.”

Fighting for his future?

Poveda is contracted to Leeds until June 2024 [Transfermarkt] but the chances of him returning to play a prominent role for the Whites appear slim.

Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Dan James are all currently competing for positions in Marcelo Bielsa’s starting XI, and even if all three are crammed into the same side, the next in line to come off the bench is Dutch sensation Crysencio Summerville.

Leeds have others in the youth ranks who are bidding to make the leap to the senior side in the coming years and, at 21, Poveda’s star is on the wane in West Yorkshire.

However, if he can build on his first senior goal at Blackburn, there is still a slight chance that he can resurrect his Elland Road career.

It appears highly unlikely, but even if that is not achievable, he will be bidding to impress potential suitors, either in the Championship or at the lower end of the Premier League.

That, in turn, should drive his price tag up as the Whites eye a cash injection for next summer.

In other Leeds United news, a reliable journalist has suggested that this big-money Whites player is set to be benched against Leicester City on Sunday.