Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn made the gutsy decision to star Casper Sloth in a slightly wider role against Sunderland for the FA Cup game over the weekend and to a certain extent, it worked.
Sloth can hold his head high after his performance against the Black Cats and he showed what can happen if Leeds adopt a slightly wider formation than they have been using.
Leeds have been playing much of their football this season based on a midfield diamond, which places pressure on the full-backs on either side to get forward frequently and provide the width.
Leeds are in the bottom four in terms of crosses per game for the Championship this season and Redfearn deserves a pat on the back for trying something a little different in the game against Sunderland.
Sloth certainly won’t play a wider role frequently because it’s not his best position and it doesn’t make sense.
However, he helped to provide a small insight into what Leeds are capable of when they do play one of their midfield four in a slightly wider role.
The obvious benefit that Sloth created was taking a bit of pressure away from the full-back, creating two wide problems for Sunderland to worry about, rather than just leaving the opposition to contain the full-back.
He also allowed Leeds to contain possession effectively in a slightly wider area, which encouraged greater movement and forward thinking from central midfield in terms of finding space and supporting the strikers.
Sloth has proven that he can do a job temporarily in a wide position, which Redfearn has recognised with his praise of the player after the game.
However, he shouldn’t be used there regularly and a key job for Redfearn will now be finding a winger, or a player within his squad, who can come in and perform out wide for Leeds consistently over the second half of the season.