By George Overhill

10th Feb, 2022 | 10:40am

Phil Hay hails Dan James in 'best game yet' for Leeds United

Dan James played his “best game yet” and shined as the central striker while Leeds United drew 3-3 at Aston Villa last night, according to Phil Hay.

The Welshman scored twice in a thrilling game where the Whites went ahead early before going 3-1 down in the first half, but ultimately came back to secure a draw at Villa Park.

Diego Llorente scored the third goal, and the point keeps the team 15th in the Premier League but now level on points with Brentford who lost at Manchester City and have played two games more.

After the match The Athletic’s Phil Hay summed up the action and was impressed with United’s attacking unit, with Jack Harrison, Rodrigo and Raphinha lining up behind James as striker.

He wrote on his personal Twitter account: “[F]or all that’s been said about it, a lot to like about Leeds’ attacking line I thought. James’ best game yet and he made it work for him at nine.”

Big gap to fill

With manager Marcelo Bielsa admitting it is “impossible to imagine” when Patrick Bamford will begin training after the foot problem he is currently out with (BBC Sport) there is a big hole to fill up front.

Leeds have been ravaged by injuries all season and the key absence in the central striking role has been a particular issue.

If former Manchester United winger James can come up with some more performances like the one he did last night then it would go a long way to helping get through to the end of the season safely before Bamford eventually returns.

Too often this season the attacking responsibilities have come down to whether Brazilian star Raphinha performs.

But last night was one of his poorer games so it was encouraging that other forward players, including the inconsistent record signing Rodrigo, stepped up to contribute.

In other Leeds United news, an ex-Premier League referee reacted after the game to the sending off late on.