Stuart Dallas took his tally to eight goals this season when he lashed home a close-range effort against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon, and Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that any other Premier League player would struggle to match the Northern Ireland star’s incredible work rate. The Leeds legend also thinks the ex-Brentford man is a contender to win the Yorkshire club’s Player of the Season award come this summer.
Other than those of a Leeds persuasion, not many have noticed the sheer quality of Dallas’ exploits this season – and his enormous versatility. According to TransferMarkt, the 30-year-old is currently playing in his sixth position this season on the right flank as cover for Raphinha. He started at left-back, provided cover at right-back and has played in the defensive-midfield, attacking-midfield and Mateusz Klich role in the middle.
When he first joined Leeds for £1.3million (Sky Sports), Dallas was a bog-standard Championship midfielder that scores a few goals per season. In his first season at Leeds, he scored five goals and created seven – during 45 Championship fixtures. But he has taken his form to a new level this season. In the Premier League, his first season in the top tier, he has clocked up an impressive eight goals – as well as laying on two assists.
The praise for Dallas from Leeds fans has been effusive and Martyn has continued that – stating that Dallas has impressed him from start to finish and questioned whether any other Premier League player could match the versatile star in terms of work rate. He also believes that the Leeds system suits him, allowing him to get forward and get back – making him a threat.
“He’s impressed me all year,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News. “We spoke about players burning out, well there has not been anything from him to suggest that. His work rate is up there with anybody in the league and he has got a desire to score as well – a decent strike on him, he is a threat. The system gives him the freedom to be able to be a goal threat, but the system means he also has to work back – but he is able to do both. It is a real feather in his cap.”
Plenty of players at Elland Road have been just as influential as Dallas. Luke Ayling has been exceptional, donning the armband on occasion and providing crucial cover during the centre-back crisis. Illan Meslier has broken record between the sticks, Kalvin Phillips has been – well, Kalvin Phillips. Raphinha has sparkled in his first season in English football and Patrick Bamford has taken his tally to 15 goals.
That, then, is five contenders for the Player of the Season award – but Martyn believes Dallas is as good as any to win the title. He also discussed whether Dallas or any Leeds players would have any chance of winning the overall award in the Premier League, but that the clubs at the top of the league have a much better chance – even if Dallas was more hard-working.
“He is pushing for one of the Leeds players of the season, in everything to do with his work rate, his goal tally and that attached to how hard he works,” Martyn continued. “He will be really proud of himself, but if you want to be up there in terms of winning the Premier League POTS award, you need to be up there challenging for the league. But the contenders for that award won’t have worked as hard as Stuart Dallas. When you look back on your season, you know yourself how good it has been – and there will be a lot of Leeds players that can take a lot pride from it.”