After falling to a defeat last time out in the Premier League, Leeds United will be hoping to pick up their first win of the new season when they travel to Newcastle United on Friday night.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side lost 3-0 to Liverpool, with Pascal Struijk’s red card for his challenge on Harvey Elliott the understandable talking point after the game.
However, the defeat meant that the Whites now linger only just above the relegation zone and desperately need a positive performance and result against the Magpies tonight to lift the mood.
One way in which Bielsa can do that even before the game is by starting new signing Dan James.
The Wales international arrived from Manchester United on transfer deadline day and has only been restricted to one substitute appearance thus far as Bielsa understandably looks to ease him into life at Elland Road.
However, with Rodrigo badly struggling at the start of this new season – here on FFC we’ve called on the Leeds boss to drop the Spaniard tonight – James might have the perfect chance to make his full debut for the club.
Speaking after the game against Liverpool last week, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan said: “He came into really tough circumstances in the game. We were fighting to get back into it and were down to 10 men, so it wasn’t the ideal circumstances to make your debut.
“But the glimpses we saw of him, he has good feet, good link-up play, he’s good at cutting inside. He is a top player all round. It was everything that we expected, that he showed at Man United during the time he was there.
“He looks like the type of player who will be perfect for Elland Road. He ticks a lot of the boxes that will make us a better team this season. We do play very direct and down the wings and the cut inside to link up with Patrick Bamford.”
His former Old Trafford teammate Andreas Pereira lauded the 23-year-old as being “explosive and so fast” in an interview with the club’s official website last season, and that level of pace and directness is something that the Whites could really do with as they look to get their campaign going.
His performances at Euro 2020 over the summer showed exactly why he could be a major thorn in the Magpies’ defence, averaging an impressive 2.5 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per game – not only was he electric taking players on, but he also showed an impressive end product too.
The £43m-rated star could terrify Newcastle tonight at St James’ Park if Bielsa decides to start him.