It has been a strange old Premier League season for Leeds starlet Ian Poveda.
The 21-year-old has flitted in between the first team squad and the under-23s and has played just 243 minutes of top-flight football spread out over ten appearances.
The likes of Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Helder Costa have all been regulars for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season, but with Harrison ineligible for the Premier League clash against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon, the Leeds boss must surely consider unleashing Poveda.
The winger joined the Whites on loan from City, with Pep Guardiola making it clear just how highly he rates the youngster, saying: “He’s young, he has to play, he’s not able (to play here) and Leeds is an incredible challenge to be training with one of the best managers in the world in terms of how he helps players to be better players.
“For the way Leeds play it should suit his qualities perfectly. I didn’t speak with Ian but either way it’s a really good decision for him.”
Since his arrival, however, Poveda has only played 16 times for the first team at Elland Road, with his last competitive appearance coming against Brighton in early January. However, in the brief opportunities he has been given, the £10,000-a-week earning ace has shown flashes of great promise.
Talking about Poveda earlier this campaign, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan said: “You can see now when you talk about people changing games and bringing a different dimension, he’s very, very quick, got great feet, very tricky, likes to run at players. Very much like Raphinha as well.
“He just looks a lot stronger this season, body-wise, mentality wise. He looks like he’s there to push people rather than just take up a bench place.”
Paul Robinson added to the winger’s list of admirers, telling MOT Leeds News last March: “I think we’re going to see Poveda come through next season. Leeds have signed him for a reason, Bielsa knows he’s a top, top player.”
With Harrison unable to play against his parent club, and Costa hardly setting the world alight – he has scored just twice all season – the 21-year-old is surely deserving of an opportunity to partner Raphinha out wide.
Poveda’s previous history with City may give him that extra motivation to play a bit harder and impress his former employers and let them know that they made a mistake in letting him go.