Leeds United all-rounder Stuart Dallas may not return to full fitness until the 2023/24 campaign.
That’s according to Beren Cross, who stated his belief in a recent Q&A on Leeds Live that, despite the versatile right-back currently possessing a predicted return date of January 1 after fracturing his femur against Manchester City earlier this year, taking into account the severity of his injury, the 31-year-old may struggle to get back to 100% match fitness before next season.
In response to a question from a supporter asking for an update on the Northern Ireland international, Cross said: “All bets really do need to be off with Dallas. There is no overstating how serious that injury was. It really could have ended his career had it been any worse. Let’s start by getting him fit and on the pitch again before predicting how he will be used.
“We have to believe it’s going to take him a long time to find consistency, even after that first game back. There will be a lot of niggles and a lot of managing his body for several months. We may not even seen an all-action Dallas again until 23/24 if he spends the second half of 22/23 working his way back into regular football.”
Considering just how important a part of the Leeds side Dallas had proven himself to be since the club’s return to the Premier League back in 2020, the prospect of the right-back not being back to his best until the 2023/24 campaign will undoubtedly be a big worry for Jesse Marsch and his backroom staff.
Indeed, the £7m-rated talent was an ever-present feature of the Whites’ starting XI in the top flight back in 2020/21, being withdrawn just twice in his 38 league fixtures, over which he scored eight goals, registered two assists and created three big chances, in addition to making an average of 1.9 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and completing 84% of his passes per game.
These returns saw the 31-year-old average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.94, ranking him as Leeds’ 10th-best performer in the top flight – playing a key role in the club’s ninth-place finish in the league that year.
It was a similar story for the £53k-per-week defender over his 34 Premier League fixtures last season, playing the full 90 minutes of every league game prior to his injury, over which he scored one goal, provided one assist and created five big chances, as well as making an average of 2.7 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and completing 79% of his passes per game.
These metrics saw the player who Charlie Austin dubbed “unreal” average a SofaScore match rating of 6.90, ranking him as the Whites’ fourth-best performer in the league – this time playing a pivotal role in keeping Leeds in the top flight of English football.
Furthermore, the Northern Irishman’s incredibly impressive positional versatility is also a huge loss for Jesse Marsch, with Dallas having featured in no less than eight different positions over his two Premier League campaigns with the Whites – including left-back, right-back, central midfield, attacking midfield, right midfield, defensive midfield, left midfield and on the right wing.
As such, it is clear to see just how important the “ironman” is within the Leeds side, meaning that the potential lack of a fully-fit Dallas until the 2023/24 campaign will undoubtedly be a huge worry for Marsch and his side – especially if the Whites find themselves in a relegation scrap once again this season.