After coming off the bench to make a couple of promising cameos in recent weeks, it’s surely time for Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa to unleash Ian Poveda in the Premier League.
The Whites take on Brighton away from home on Saturday afternoon, and Bielsa will have some big calls to make, not least between Poveda and Helder Costa.
In fact, after seeing what Poveda produced after coming on as a substitute for Costa against Liverpool, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan made it clear that the young winger must “come before” the 27-year-old now.
He told Football Insider: “There is something there that is not right because Poveda came on and did more in that short time than Costa did in the 60 minutes he was on the field.
“He is fourth in the pecking order in terms of wingers for me. Poveda has to come before him now. He is direct, exciting and wants to take people on. He wants to do his job as a winger and Costa does not. He plays it safe and he’s negative. At least Poveda runs at people. He is positive and that is what a winger should do. Costa has been a massive flop. A real disappointment again.”
Paul Robinson added to the £10,000-a-week forward’s admirers, saying last year: “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.”
As Whelan says, Poveda’s directness could be exactly what Leeds need to unlock Brighton’s defence, and if he is given a rare opportunity to start from the off, would surely want to make his mark. Indeed, all 12 of his league appearances this term have been from the bench.
Bielsa just needs to give him a chance to shine, and a clash against Brighton would offer him exactly that. He could well be Leeds’ game-changer on the day.
Meanwhile, Leeds can finally bin this “liability”…