The teenage midfielder made a vital contribution as Leeds United got back to winning ways against Bristol City.
The fact that Ronaldo Vieira’s costly mistake in Leeds’ recent 2-0 home defeat to Cardiff sticks in the mind speaks volumes about his breakthrough season at Elland Road. After all, that horror second-half moment, giving the ball away deep inside his own half en route to the visitor’s clincher, represents a rare blemish in an otherwise impeccable campaign.
And, what’s more, the notoriously-named midfielder was mature enough to accept responsibility at full-time. There’s no limits to Vieira’s maturity, on and off the pitch. It’s easy to forget, then, that he’s got 16 more months to enjoy of his teenage years.
Energetic and feisty, the Guinea-Bissau born enforcer only made his senior bow in May of last year and, in less than a year, has racked up 16 league starts, cementing his place as a crucial member of Garry Monk’s promotion chasing squad.
And, just three days after gifting Kenneth Zohore a shock second in Cardiff’s Elland Road robbery, Vieira responded with one of his most complete performances of the season in Tuesday’s narrow 2-1 win against Bristol City, completing a game-high five tackles.
In short, his progression in recent months has been nothing short of remarkable and, if Leeds do indeed secure their Premier League return come May, there’s little doubt that Vieira, a midfielder blessed with the power and dynamism of one N’Golo Kante, is ready to join the big time.
Though, if there’s one lingering concern, it’s that the Premier League is punishing. Possession, although perhaps not nine tenths of the law, cannot be surrendered cheaply and Vieira’s passing needs work. The teenager misplaced eight passes against Bristol City and, in many other games this season, the story has been similar. The fans, despite their overall admiration, have expressed concern on a number of occasions.
Minor, yet crucial improvements could take his game to the next level again.