Leeds United's five best high-pressing players suited to heavy-metal football; any surprise names on the list?

Uwe Rosler

A look at the Leeds United players most suited to Uwe Rosler's heavy metal football.

New Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler says he wants to bring 'heavy metal football' to Elland Road, but do they have the players to pull it off?

Rosler, speaking to the club's official website after his appointment, explained he wanted a high pressing game to turn defence into attack.

He said: "I’m very interested in having a lot of quick attempts on goal and it is very important for me where you win the ball.

"I play a high pressing game to force the opposition into mistakes and playing the ball into areas where we can attack quick."

This served Rosler well at Brentford and for the first half of his Wigan tenure, and he will busy identifying which players are best suited to helping him achieve this at Leeds.

We have extracted the data from the past Championship season which shows how many times individual players won the ball back in their attacking third; in front of the opposition goal.

Here are the top five best 'high pressing' Leeds players according to Opta data...

  Possession won in attacking thirdAppearances
Alex Mowatt 19 38
Billy Sharp 16 33
Sam Byram 14 39
Souleymane Doukara 11 25
Mirco Antenucci 10 36

Breakthrough midfielder Alex Mowatt was superb all round last season, and it is no surprise to see him topping yet another statistical category.

Sam Byram's high place on the list suggests there is a case to keep him in midfield rather than defence, as that's where he can best fit into Uwe Rosler's philosophy.

The remaining 'top five' are three strikers, but with one notable absentee. Steve Morison, noted for his hard work up front, places below Billy Sharp, Mirco Antenucci, and surprisingly Souleymane Doukara who was ostracised in the latter months by head coach Neil Redfearn.

Morison won the ball back seven times, and it may well be that combined with having a weaker goal output that each of the trio, he finds himself out of the side, and Sharp gets a new lease of life.

There is one concern though for Leeds, and that is that of all the teams in the Championship, this is a category they rated poorly in.

Play-off side Ipswich won the ball back more times in the final third than any other, while Leeds ranked 21st of 24 sides.

  Possession won in attacking third
Ipswich 204
Leeds 120

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