Noel Whelan has singled out Leeds United defender Barry Douglas for praise on his return to Marcelo Bielsa’s first XI yesterday.
Douglas had a stormer in the Whites’ 3-1 win away to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday as Bielsa’s side established a four-point lead at the top of the Championship.
The 30-year-old, a £3 million signing in 2018, had a brilliant first season at Elland Road but his second has been nowhere near as fruitful.
The Scot, who has struggled with injury this season, has only managed 13 Championship appearances since August, with the trip to Ewood Park being his first start since December.
But there was no signs of rust from the former Wolverhampton Wanderers left-back, who completed nine ball recoveries yesterday – the most of any player on the pitch – and finished the game with 88 percent passing accuracy which, again, was better than anybody else.
Here’s how Whelan reacted, telling BBC West Yorkshire Sport: “I thought he was really impressive today, considering he’s not played that much football and struggled with injuries this season.
“We know he’s got the quality – we haven’t always seen it since he arrived at Elland Road – but today we definitely saw the Barry Douglas we knew was there. Defending – absolutely quality – I can’t remember that many times he was beaten.”
It was so important that Douglas impressed yesterday.
With Stuart Dallas being injured, Bielsa could’ve put Ezgjan Alioski as left-back, but he went with Douglas and had he chosen somebody else it would’ve spoke volumes for how little role the Scotland international has in West Yorkshire.