Rasmus Kristensen was struggling earlier in the season as he failed to produce the level of performance needed to keep Luke Ayling out of the Leeds side – but Ben Parker thinks Sam Allardyce is getting the best out of the Dane.
Allardyce has made a number of changes to the Leeds side in his opening two games. Joel Robles coming in for Illan Meslier, Robin Koch moving into holding midfield, Rodrigo used on the right flank. Kristensen is another change.
Bought by Jesse Marsch, he was signed as a long-term replacement for Ayling on the right of defence. But he has struggled to displace Ayling, and dropped out of the side. He even lost his place in the Denmark National Team.
At least, for a few days before scoring at Wolves and being quickly re-inserted. In Allardyce’s two games, he has moved Kristensen inside – replacing Koch – alongside Max Wober. At centre-back, Kristensen has impressed of late.
Against Manchester City, he helped stop Erling Haaland from scoring. Newcastle, he scored – but was also solid at the back. Ex-Leeds star Parker thinks Allardyce is now getting the best out of him – centre-back suits Kristensen.
“It [change from right-back to centre-back] seems to suit him. Okay at Manchester City, did well against Newcastle United. A bit more protection, he is not as isolated which he has struggled with,” Parker told LS11 on Thursday.
“In the Premier League – the energy, the tempo, it is difficult for a full-back. Moving in one, he is a good defender, throws his body on the line and that’s what Big Sam wants in a centre-back,” Parker continued on Kristensen.
Parker thinks Allardyce getting best out of Leeds defender Kristensen
Kristensen has played in the middle before. Both Marsch and Javi Gracia used Koch at centre-back; there was no room for the £43k-a-week defender. Now, with Koch in midfield and Leeds looking better for it, there is a space.
To stop Haaland from scoring, well, he did his job – a job not many have done this season. Against Newcastle, Leeds kept the Toon from scoring other than penalties – meaning it was a job well done defensively. He starts on Sunday.