14 ball recoveries, 2 key passes: Leeds ace justifying first-team run

Elland Road pitchside

Leeds United’s Luke Murphy has been a key player for the Whites over the past six weeks.

Leeds United star Luke Murphy is justifying his run in the first-team after another impressive midfield performance during his side’s vital 1-0 win over Millwall.

The 25-year-old faced a lengthy spell out of the first-team picture and was only brought back in during the Whites’ 1-0 defeat at Sunderland in the FA Cup in early January.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against the struggling Lions, Murphy had netted three times in his previous four matches and his inclusion in the XI has coincided with the club’s surge up the table.

Ian Holloway’s Millwall were always going to pose a threat, yet an Alex Mowatt free-kick proved the difference between the sides as Neil Redfearn’s men claimed a narrow 1-0 victory.

Mowatt will naturally gain the plaudits for his wonderful technique and winning goal, but much of the Yorkshire outfit’s solid display was down to yet another superb outing from their number 7.

  ShotsKey PassesTacklesInterceptionsBall RecoveriesTouchesAccurate PassesMins Played
Luke Murphy 2 2 4 4 14 72 31 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the Leeds midfielder put in an all-round performance and once again showed why he should be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Going forward, Murphy showed his attacking intentions by firing off two shots – one on target - and creating two chances for his teammates via key passes.

Yet, it was his defensive duties rather than his attacking intuition which stood out as he proved to be a rock in front of the hosts’ back four and provided the protection needed to claim a clean sheet.

He recorded a whopping 14 ball recoveries, while also contributing with four tackles and four interceptions – the latter being more than any other player on the pitch.

In possession, Murphy was commanding as he made a total of 72 touches and 31 accurate passes – though with a 66% success rate there is room for improvement on that front.

Nonetheless, it was an outstanding individual display and his run in the first-team has coincided with his side’s four wins in their previous five matches.

The victory takes the Elland Road side up to 12th spot in the Championship table, eight points clear of the relegation zone and 14 points off the top six.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch