Rag doll

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United rag doll highlights transfer target after fan jokes

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa prefers players who can play in multiple positions.

Multifaceted individuals such as Stuart Dallas were key to Leeds’ promotion, due to their positional flexibility, allowing Bielsa to adapt and experiment with others.

Rodrigo’s dual ability as a No.10 or No.9 will have been a motivating factor in the club’s pursuit of the Spaniard 18 months ago.

Recently departed, Ezgjan Alioski started life at Leeds as a left-winger, before ending his time at Elland Road as the club’s first-choice left-back.

Pascal Struijk and Robin Koch have been referenced several times by Bielsa as being able to fill in defensive midfield, while Jamie Shackleton has split his time on the pitch between right-back and central midfield.

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The Leeds squad is full of players who can perform multiple roles, but none more so than the Northern Irishman Dallas.

This season, according to Transfermarkt, the 30-year-old has played six different roles in 22 appearances in all competitions: right-back, left-back, central midfielder, defensive midfielder, right-midfielder and left-midfielder.

In Leeds’ last game against West Ham United, Dallas came on as a half-time substitute. But, by the 70th minute, Dallas had already been deployed in three different roles as Bielsa mixed his bag and faced even more injuries.

Bielsa replaced midfielder Lewis Bate with the experienced Dallas at the break, but soon after Dallas was needed at right-back. Another issue saw Junior Firpo pulled out with a suspected concussion, prompting the introduction of right-back Cody Drameh.

Dallas was on the move again, replaced by left-back.

Adam Forshaw #4 of Leeds United and Stuart Dallas #15 of Leeds United plan a free kick

Versatility is all well and good, but expecting continuity from a player who is so often clueless is a tall order.

In Leeds’ 19 Premier League appearances this season, Dallas has started in the same role in consecutive appearances on just four occasions.

In many ways, Leeds’ multiple simultaneous injuries made those still available as positional rag dolls, pulled from pillar to pillar, filling gaps all over the pitch.

Now, this weekly ambiguity is commonly accepted at Elland Road, but would continuity engender a higher level of performance?

Fans took to social media Monday night after news that forward Sam Greenwood had been injured, with tongue-in-cheek suggestions Dallas should fill up front.

Ultimately, his handyman Personality has been more of a help than a hindrance throughout Bielsa’s tenure, but it begs the question: Should finding the 30-year-old a more permanent home in this team be at the forefront of transfer policy? of the club in 2022?

At times like these, it’s hard to argue with the idea that more bodies would ease the tension.