Leeds United's top 30 players of all time - Number 22

Elland Road East Stand

At 22 in the countdown is a midfielder who, in two spells at the club, won the First Division title and helped Leeds almost climb the mountain in Europe.

David Batty was the kind of unassuming, hard-working midfielder that Leeds fans have been crying out for for several years now. What he brought to the team was often overshadowed by perhaps more exciting players, but there is no doubt that he was a critical part of the club's success during his two spells at Elland Road.

Born in the city, Batty made his debut for the Whites under Billy Bremner, the club legend tasked with the job of helping Leeds get out of the doldrums of the Second Division. And while Batty's style evoked memories of the way Bremner often played the game, it was under the Scotsman's successor Howard Wilkinson that the youngster really began to flourish.

Batty was an important member of the side that would be promoted back to the top flight in 1990, and would remain influential as part of the midfield that would drive Leeds onto the First Division title in 1992, along with Gary Speed, Gary McAllister and Gordon Strachan.

After leaving United for Blackburn in 1993 - where injuries meant that he would only play a small role in helping Rovers win the Premiership title in 1995 - he would go on to play for Newcastle before returning to Elland Road in 1998.

While injuries played a much bigger role in his second stint, he was able to help the club reach the semi-finals in both the UEFA Cup and Champions League, and helped David O'Leary's men challenge for the league crown on a couple of occasions.

But like the club, cracks began to show just a couple of years after the glorious nights in Europe and another injury meant that the former England international - who made 42 appearances for the Three Lions - played his final game for Leeds just a few months before the team were relegated. 

While the comparisons with Bremner often centred around his ability and bravery when it came to getting stuck in, he was very much underrated when it came to passing the ball and dictating play. 

And while the end of his career would coincide with the club heading back to where they had been when he made his debut, the success he helped bring to the team both on a domestic and European front certainly makes him one of the greatest modern midfielders Leeds have had. 

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