Leeds United’s fate was finally sealed on Sunday, with their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa meaning the club’s only route into the Premier League next season will be via the playoffs.
Due to Patrick Bamford’s ban after Sunday’s clash, Tyler Roberts may be the man Marcelo Bielsa has to look towards if the Whites are to get to Wembley in May.
Roberts would have been one of the most important players in the playoffs regardless of what happened on Sunday due to his incredible performances as of late.
Despite naturally being a striker, the Welshman has been deployed as an attacking midfielder since Samu Saiz’s departure in January. The ex-West Brom man has impressed since moving into his new role.
Former Leeds player Noel Whelan was particularly impressed with him on Sunday and he called for Bielsa to utilise the 20-year-old in his new role during the postseason.
Whelan said: “He was transformed at the weekend. What he brings is a little bit more directness – he’s got great feet, a trick in his locker and can drive past people.
“He can cause problems because has a turn of pace about him. He is very lively as a number 10 and that’s where I would play him in the play-offs.”
As much as the Welshman has been a revelation in the midfield, the aftermath of Sunday’s game may mean he has to revert to playing up front in the playoffs.
Patrick Bamford’s dive on Sunday means that he has been retrospectively banned and will miss out on the playoff semi-final first leg. Although Kemar Roofe is expected to return to action this weekend there will still be question marks surrounding his fitness and how long he will be able to play for.
The striker has not played a full 90 mins since back in February. Due to this, Roberts may well be called upon to start up front in Leeds’ first playoff match.
This twist of fate means that the attacker will have to be at his very best if the Whites are to be promoted to the Premier League, and all of a sudden their promotion dreams rest heavily on his shoulders.