Leeds are missing a trick with Helder Costa this season

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

The cries a few weeks ago from Leeds supporters were for Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah to start.

They’ve had one of those wishes granted with the Portuguese playing from the off in the last two league outings. However, the striker is still yet to be granted the same privilege in the league.

An injury to Pablo Hernandez finally granted Costa his first Championship start for the Whites against Charlton but he duly disappointed by losing possession 17 times. At times he’s felt rather cryptic and underwhelming, but in other moments, he’s looked a class above.

Supporters seemed pleased with him after a display against West Brom but you feel as though Leeds are still missing a trick with the 25-year-old this term, particularly in recent times.

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On the chalkboard

£15m is the fee Leeds will spend on Costa next summer to make him a permanent part of the furniture. At one stage it looked rather seismic given he hadn’t started for a few months.

This is a player who has 29 goal involvements in two Championship campaigns with Wolves so the potential is clearly there.

After all, he’s already been involved in four goals in 2019/20, despite only starting the same number of matches.

He was electric in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup, providing two assists and a goal but he’s yet to discover that in the league.

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One player he’s gained a real understanding with is Eddie Nketiah. The pair combined for a strike against Salford in the cup before finding themselves at the centre of all things good late on versus Brentford.

The pair linked up in near-identical fashion as Costa got to the byline and then pulled the ball back for the Arsenal loanee to bury an opportunity.

Costa has rarely been afforded a chance alongside Nketiah despite this and as a pair, they’ve started just two matches and played a combined 240 minutes, according to Transfermarkt.

Bamford is the type of forward that is more likely to hold things up and expect players to play into him but Nketiah runs off the shoulder and his darting runs could prove particularly effective for someone like Costa.

He registered 14 assists for Wolves at this level with canny operators such as Ivan Cavaleiro and Rui Fonte beside him.

They were energetic forwards and that enabled Costa to contribute to 18 goals with both of them combined in all competitions.

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Bamford has gone goalless for five games and despite his work rate earning praise from supporters, you can’t help but feel Leeds are missing a trick by not playing Costa alongside Nketiah.

They’ve shown they can be dangerous twice already this season and the added movement from the 20-year-old might allow his teammate to live up to expectation.

Things take time but this change could be one that ensures Costa thrives.

Article title: Leeds are missing a trick with Helder Costa this season

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