Stuart Dallas' renewed importance to Leeds highlighted by one stat

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

Stuart Dallas has become a hugely important player for Leeds United after being a peripheral figure under Thomas Christiansen.

Paul Heckingbottom Leeds manager gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

Several Leeds players appear to have enjoyed a boost in confidence since Thomas Christiansen was replaced by Paul Heckingbottom earlier in the month with the new manager overseeing an encouraging return of five points from four potentially tricky games. 

The player that appears to have enjoyed the greatest transformation is arguably Stuart Dallas. The Northern Ireland international barely featured under Christiansen - he started just two times during the previous boss' tenure - but has started all four games since Heckingbottom took over.

Stuart Dallas of Leeds scores the winning penalty during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England.

And he has arguably reminded the supporters of why he was so valuable during his first season at Elland Road in particular, proving to be more than capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch.

He set up Leeds' opener in the draw with Derby County with an excellent run onto Liam Cooper's pass before playing a decent cross into the box for Pierre-Michel Lasogga, while he had also demonstrated his versatility by putting in a strong performance at right-back in the defeat to Sheffield United.

Cardiff defender Lee Peltier (l) challenges Stuart Dallas of Leeds during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Leeds United at Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2017...

And perhaps one statistic from the month best highlights just how valuable Dallas has been for Heckingbottom's side - and that is how many successful tackles that he has made. 

  TeamTackles WonMins Played
Alan Browne Preston 12 450
Stuart Dallas Leeds 11 387
Josh Scowen QPR 11 450
David Wheater Bolton 11 473
Joe Williams Barnsley 11 450

As the table shows, only one player in the entire division has made more successful challenges in February, and Preston North End's Alan Browne has played significantly more minutes than Dallas.

In the final weeks of Christiansen's tenure, it appeared that his Leeds side did not seem to have the right amount of aggression - and when they did show any aggression, it usually resulted in a red card. 

Dallas' form in that one particular area hints that Heckingbottom is getting the balance right - or at least, putting the right players in place to make sure that the team do have that bite without crossing the line.

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