Adam Forshaw looks ready to be one of Leeds' surprises of the season

Leeds United's Adam Forshaw during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on August 10, 2019 in Leeds, England.

Adam Forshaw has faced his fair share of criticism since joining Leeds United in the 2018 January transfer window.

Leeds United's Adam Forshaw in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Millwall at Elland Road on March 30, 2019 in Leeds, England.

While Leeds came agonisingly close to sealing promotion from the Championship last season, it is probably fair to say that Adam Forshaw did not enjoy the easiest first full campaign at Elland Road.

Leeds supporters would have expected a lot from the midfielder following Marcelo Bielsa's appointment last summer. The long-suffering fans had forgotten what it was like to see a player arrive for a £4.5 million fee when he joined during the 2018 January window (fee reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post), and he was one of the players who did reasonably well during Paul Heckingbottom's brief tenure.

 

But he struggled to silence his critics throughout the campaign, particularly when he was tasked with filling in for Kalvin Phillips in the holding role the 23-year-old had proved to be a revelation in for much of the season.

However, Bielsa kept his faith in Forshaw - even picking him ahead of Phillips for the vital game at Brentford at Easter that saw Leeds blow the chance to go back to second in the table with two games remaining - and he has, unsurprisingly, made him an important part of his plans again this term.

Leeds United's Adam Forshaw shoots at goal under pressure from Norwich City's Tom Trybull during the Sky Bet Championship between Leeds United and Norwich City at Elland Road on February 2,...

But this time around, Forshaw looks ready to prove exactly why Bielsa has stuck by him. The 27-year-old has been used in a more central role, and been superb against both Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.

Phillips is able to pull the strings and dictate play from deep partially because he has had Forshaw doing a lot of hard yards, screening the six players often behind him. The former Middlesbrough man is proving to be a brilliant box-to-box option in the middle of the park for the Whites, and that appears to be leaving Phillips with a lot more freedom.

He will need to sustain this form for a much longer period to win all of his doubters round. But his opening two displays suggest that something has clicked and Forshaw is ready to be one of the surprises of the season.

Leeds United's Adam Forshaw during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on August 10, 2019 in Leeds, England.

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