Reading manager Mark Bowen has told Berkshire Live that Leeds United do not have anyone in their ranks with the ability of John Swift, even if Marcelo Bielsa’s men run ‘harder and faster’ than the Royals star.
A mid-table Championship outfit will need one of the league’s most underrated players to be at his mercurial best on Saturday as Reading make the daunting trip to Elland Road.
Swift might not grab headlines like Matheus Pereira, Tom Cairney or even his Madejski team-mate Ovie Ejaria, but the former Chelsea youngster has still scored five times and produced nine assists from central midfield in 2019/20.
Furthermore, Swift has as many goals this season than Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw and the much-admired Pablo Hernandez combined.
And such a statistic gives some credence to Bowen’s rather bullish claim.
“They might have a midfielder who runs harder and faster than John Swift but they won't have his ability so it's about getting that balance,” said the former Stoke coach.
"As a coach I'd much rather work with him than someone who can just run up and down - that's not doing them a disservice because they do more than that.”
After a dreadful run of form which had the West Yorkshire faithful dreading another late-season collapse, Leeds appear to have turned the corner in the last few games. They put the handbrake Brentford’s much-admired ‘BMW’ front line at Griffin Park before keeping Bristol City at arms’ length last time out.
And Leeds will need to be similarly solid at the back if they want to stop Swift getting into double figures for assists.
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