If you want an example of how Marcelo Bielsa can transform a footballer beyond all recognition, look no further than Stuart Dallas.
A workmanlike and, dare we say it, rather average winger when the Argentine shuffled into Elland Road in the summer of 2018, he is now the first choice right-back for club and country. The so-called ‘Cookstown Cafu’ is in the form of his life with Bielsa turning the former Brentford flyer into one of the most effective, barnstorming full-backs around - even if comparisons with the Brazil legend remain firmly tongue in cheek.
Even Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt, a centre-back pairing who cost their clubs £143 million combined, could do nothing to stop Dallas from finding Josh Magennis with a pinpoint cross during Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between Northern Ireland and Holland.
Magennis simply couldn’t miss with Dallas, who gave Germany’s defence the runaround just a month ago, once again standing out against truly elite opposition at international level.
Unfortunately Northern Ireland couldn’t hold onto their lead with Holland, inspired by Memphis Depay, roaring back to win 3-1 at De Kuip thanks to three late goals.
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