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Exclusive: Nigel Martyn thinks Leeds midfielder is 'trying too hard', reckons a loan could be beneficial

Ian Poveda came off the bench on Monday night and impressed as Leeds United clawed themselves back into the game to draw 1-1 against reigning Premier League champions Liverpool. However, Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he believes the pocket-sized winger is “trying too hard” when it comes to his end product, and believes Poveda could benefit from going out on loan and getting some much-needed game time.

Poveda, 21, made his first Premier League appearance for Leeds since the middle of January as Diego Llorente scored a late header to cancel out Sadio Mane’s opener. Poveda impressed during his 23-minute substitute appearance, showing some nice touches and taking the game to Liverpool’s full-backs – appearing on both flanks and coming up against Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold – who got the assist for Mane.

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The England Under-20 international had previously suffered an ankle injury during an Under-23 match – an injury which kept him out of the squad for six Premier League games. But he finally made his Premier League return and it was an impressive one, looking sharp, skilful and creative – most notably when slipping a nice pass into Tyler Roberts.

Making 13 senior appearances this season, 11 have come in the Premier League but all of them have been from the bench – with Raphinha, Helder Costa and Jack Harrison all above him in the pecking order. He is yet to score or create a goal and Martyn has told LUN that he believes Poveda is just not getting the rub of the green – and that at times, he is trying too hard to make something happen and needs something to fall his way.

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“He was bright at times,” Martyn said, about Poveda’s performance. “He does make the wrong decision with the ball at times, but he did put a nice ball through for Tyler Roberts. He looked bright but he has now had quite a few opportunities to go and do it now. I don’t know what it is, it just doesn’t seem to happen for him often enough. I’m sure he is working hard and trying to improve but when he gets the opportunity it looks likes he is trying too hard to impress. He’s got the desire, but things need to happen for him.”

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Poveda joined Leeds in January 2020 on a free transfer, just weeks before the country was throw into lockdown. In 18 months at the club, he has only managed 17 appearances and still remains some way down the pecking order. With the summer window approaching and Leeds consolidating themselves in the Premier League, Poveda is only likely to fall down the rankings under Marcelo Bielsa even further going forward.

Asked whether Poveda could do with a loan move away from Elland Road this summer, Martyn responded by stating that if he was given more game time at another club – then it would be beneficial for the young winger. It would allow the wide man to get some confidence and return to Leeds in the summer of 2022 with some added strings to his bow.

“It depends what game time he is getting, if it is good game then yes – going out on loan is better than 10 or 15 minutes here or there,” Martyn continued. “It is an opportunity to build your confidence and build your fitness in match situations. You often go away and do well, and come back, chomping at the bit, do well in training and the manager can give you a chance. You might get a start or something like that. That might be something he wants to do. He might come back in the summer and try and break past – but there are a lot of players in his position.”

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