There is no doubt that Marc Roca produced his best performance in a Leeds United shirt on Tuesday night as the Whites secured a priceless win against Nottingham Forest – but did he do it because of Tyler Adams’ absence?

Roca, 26, started once again in the middle of the park – clocking up his third-consecutive 90-minute performance, in the 2-1 win. In our previous 26 League games, Roca had only managed the entire 90 minutes on four occasions.

Alongside Weston McKennie, he was superb. A double pivot, but very much in the sense that McKennie was given slightly more freedom to get forward – while Roca maintained his position. Javi Gracia praised the duo’s display.

Tony Dorigo, meanwhile, said it was Roca’s best display in a Leeds shirt. WhoScored gave him a rating of 7.54, his best all season – his second-highest being a 7.31 in a 3-2 loss to Fulham. Is it because Leeds are without Adams?

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Marc Roca produced his best Leeds performance without Tyler Adams

When Roca and Adams combine, it is almost as if they are too similar at times. The combination of Roca and £20m Adams works, but Roca likes to sit back – have the space to pick his passes. Adams is more of a holding midfielder.

They, at times, can interrupt each other. But in McKennie, Leeds have a midfielder that wants to join the attack. One that when Leeds are in possession, wants to get in between the lines to be the man to receive passes from Roca.

It gives Roca the space to shine. So, while you would argue that Adams is our best midfielder – especially in that role, his absence perhaps explains why Roca enjoyed his best outing in a Leeds shirt. It gave the Spaniard space.

When Roca is playing with Adams, he is often tasked with getting forward like McKennie does. But McKennie, of the three, is the best at doing that – being a box-to-box midfielder. No doubt, though, that Roca was excellent last night.

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