Leeds United's top 30 players of all time - Number 13

Elland Road pitchside

At 13 in the countdown is a defender who George Best rated as one of the best he ever came up against.

If the legendary George Best is calling you one of the best defenders he has ever played against, then you know you must be a master of your craft. Luckily for Don Revie's Leeds United, one of the players that Best was talking about was their long-serving right-back Paul Reaney.

Reaney made nearly 750 appearances during a spell at Elland Road that lasted around 17 years, and in that time he would help United win the league title and Fairs Cup twice each, the FA Cup and League Cup on one occasion and help the Whites reach a European Cup final.

While every player in Revie's team bought something to the table that often made them invaluable, it was Reaney's ability to deal with some of the finest wingers the game has ever seen, including Best, with minimal fuss that made him such a key man in Leeds' side and one of the reasons why United enjoyed plenty of success during that period, and threatened to enjoy a lot more.

It was not only in defence that the London-born star - who would earn just three caps for England - would prove to cause problems for opponents as he was more than happy to use his pace to get down the line and put dangerous crosses in.

Unfortunately for Reaney, a leg break in 1970 disrupted some of what should have been his best years. However, he remained a part of the side upon making his recovery and helped the team go 29 games unbeaten at the start of their title-winning campaign of 1973-74. 

As well as Best's assessment of his ability, perhaps the greatest indicator of Reaney's importance during those years was the fact that before his leg break, the Whites had been battling on three fronts - the First Division, FA Cup and European Cup - but finished the campaign empty-handed, which may well have not been the case if the defender had been available to keep opponents quiet. 

Countdown so far: Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24, Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16, Number 15, Number 14

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