Leeds secured a narrow 2-1 win over A-League side Brisbane Roar on Thursday morning, thanks to goals from Dan James and Joe Gelhardt – and here are three things we learned from the win, including the need for a left-back:
Harrison experiment fails
With Junior Firpo injured, Jack Harrison started at left-back. But he was poor on the left side of defence. He gave the ball away on numerous occasions, his crossing was woeful, and often dived in when he needed to stand up.
Perhaps unsurprising, given he is naturally a winger. But maybe, Harrison is better with the knowledge he has a left-back behind him – and is given the attacking freedom to express himself.
Leif Davis was solid in his place, but he is hardly the long-term answer. Leeds need a left-back this summer, with Firpo injured, Harrison struggling and Davis likely to join Ipswich. If there was any doubt, Thursday answered it.
Gyabi, Roca pick of the new signings
Brenden Aaronson, Marc Roca and Rasmus Kristensen started and got 45 minutes. Darko Gyabi and Tyler Adams came on at half-time, while Luis Sinisterra came on after 30 minutes and was replaced on 60.
Roca glided through the first half. Some glorious positions, inch-perfect passing, proving once again he is a bargain at £10million. Kristensen was excellent too, getting forward well and winning plenty of headers.
Aaronson was good, if a little quiet – but some nice touches. Adams looks defensively-minded and his passing was also good. But it was Gyabi that surprised, some glorious little turns, crosses, passes and vision for an 18-year-old.
New centre-back partnership exciting
Last season, this was an issue for Leeds. Injuries and form seeing Leeds chop and change between Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk. Captain Cooper was missing from Thursday’s match.
But for the second time in their two friendlies, Jesse Marsch started Koch and Struijk together at centre-back. The duo were very solid, winning headers but also looking very comfortable in possession, and their passing.
Perhaps, if both can remain fit, this is the start of a much-needed partnership in the middle of the Leeds defence. Llorente did replace Koch after 60 minutes, but for the first hour, the duo looked good together.