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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Whites Watching: Looking into Leeds’ Lads at the Euros

How Leeds United's players are got on in round one of Euro 2020

Coming off the back of a highly impressive season, Leeds United’s players will be looking to continue their rich vein of form into this summer’s European Championships.

Seven players at the tournament means the Yorkshire club, have as many representatives as Liverpool, and more than, FA Cup winning, Leicester City.

Leeds’ own Kalvin Phillips has impressed most so far, with an excellent display that has left the whole nation, fans and pundits alike, talking.

Born in Wortley, the fans refer to Phillips, as the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ and the dynamic midfielder certainly did the nickname justice.

A man of the match performance in England’s 1-0 win over 2018 runners up, Croatia, Kalvin assisted the only goal of the game with a driving run, followed by a superbly weighted pass for goalscorer Raheem Sterling.

Impressing on international duty

The midfield man also saw a low volley from outside the box, expertly saved and his disruptive play was integral in making sure Croatia’s talented attack never got going.

Phillips will hope his performance will lead to back to back starts in the Three Lions’ next game v Scotland on Friday.

Ezgjan Alioski has proved himself to be a bit of a character in his stay at Leeds United and has made sure his time at the Euros is no different.

Involved in the incident that led to Austria’s Marko Arnautovic being given a one match ban, the North Macedonian talisman put in a hard-working performance and was unlucky to find himself on the losing side.

Though Austria opened the scoring through Stefan Lainer, Alioski was involved in the build up for North Macedonia’s equaliser. Their first ever goal at the Euros, the left wing back’s searching cross field pass led to veteran hero, Goran Pandev, tapping into an open goal after a defensive mix up.

Player of the Match Gjanni Alioski

However, his side eventually fell to two late Austria goals, as the match finished 3-1.

Despite this though, Alioski was voted player of the match by a BBC Sports fan poll with an average rating of 8.47 and will be hoping for similar in the next fixture against Ukraine, on Thursday.

Mateusz Klich was another one of Leeds’ Euro crop unlucky to find himself on the wrong end of a defeat.

Even with his Poland side being stunned by Slovakia, in a 2-1 shock result, Klich was one of the only players to leave the match with his head held high.

With a crafty and creative performance, Mateusz outshone European Golden Shoe winner and fellow countryman, Robert Lewandowski. The midfielder finished the match with an average 6.94 rating with BBC Sport, with no other Poland player getting above six.

His side now go into Saturday’s game v Spain, desperately in need of points.

Leeds United’s captain Liam Cooper faced a tough task in replacing Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney, however may have proved himself a capable deputy.

His side were outplayed in a 2-0 loss to Czech Republic, but the centre back’s passing from the back was consistently good, particularly linking up well with Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.

Although the defender did find himself exposed at times defensively, leaving areas to improve on for both Liam and his Scotland team mates.

The rest of United’s contingent are yet to feature at the tournament with Wales’ Tyler Roberts, Spain’s Diego Llorente and Germany’s Robin Koch being unused substitutes in draws with Switzerland, Sweden and a loss to France, respectively.

Leeds’ £29m record signing, Rodrigo, is also in the Spain camp after Sergio Busquets’ COVID outbreak. However, he is yet to be called up to official squad.

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