Jon Newsome has told BBC Radio Leeds that Junior Firpo did fairly well as Leeds United drew with Manchester United in dramatic fashion at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Blimey, it is hard to know how to feel about the 2-2 draw. Of course, most Leeds fans would have taken a point beforehand given the current turmoil. But obviously, blowing a 2-0 lead is a bit of a sickener.
There were colossal performances all over the pitch. And one of those who deserves credit is Firpo. The 26-year-old came on midway through the first-half after Pascal Struijk needed to come off.
BBC pundit reacts to display from Junior Firpo in Leeds draw
Firpo has been a divisive figure throughout his time at Elland Road. But there have been some brighter signs from the left-back of late. Admittedly, the problem is those better displays have come against teams in the divisions below in the FA Cup.
So there would have been plenty of angst when he came on so early against the home side, particularly given that he was up against Marcus Rashford.
He did pick up a yellow card. But it was a really encouraging showing from the former Barcelona man. And Newsome suggested that he can be reasonably happy with his display.
“I thought he did okay in all honesty. There was only one thing, that time where the ball dropped out of the sky and he nonchalantly – for me, quite lazily – without looking, passed it back into what he thought was the back four and he nearly played the Man United striker in. It’s just little bits like that he’s got to sharpen up on,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“But I think Pascal Struijk did really well before he went off. He was the one who won the ball back for us to break and score the first goal in the first minute.
“Listen, Firpo came on and he did a job. I think he’s got a long way to go. That’s the only thing about Firpo.”
Clearly, it is going to be a massive boost for Leeds if Firpo can find some form. He should be first-choice given that he is the natural left-back in the squad.
Max Wober is an option. But he has been inspired at centre-back so far. And Struijk is not naturally a left-back.
As Newsome suggests, it was not perfect from Firpo. But he was up against arguably the in-form forward in the Premier League – other than Willy Gnonto – right now. And he had to be ready a lot sooner than he would have expected.
Hopefully he can build on this.