Michael Skubala was full of praise for Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie after Leeds United’s loss to Manchester United, claiming – in comments reported by BBC Radio Leeds – that the pair have formed a really special partnership.
With Marc Roca still sidelined, Adams and McKennie once again started together on Sunday. They were superb at Old Trafford in midweek. And of course, they know each other from playing together for the USMNT.
Ultimately, it was an agonising loss, and Leeds remain in the jaws of the relegation zone. But two players who could hold their head up high were McKennie and Adams.
Skubala praises McKennie and Adams after Leeds loss
The pair set the tone with two full-blooded challenges in the opening minutes. And it is surely fair to say that Leeds were brilliant in the midfield battle.
Of course, Adams’ performance will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Leeds this season. He has been a revelation since his summer move to Elland Road.
But McKennie’s transition into the side has been almost seamless. He has been excellent in his two starts. And Skubala suggested that he has been hugely impressed by how well the pair have played together.
“I love that partnership. I think they have quality on the ball, I think they have quality off the ball, I think at times they were playing against three and dealing with it,” he said, as reported on BBC Radio Leeds.
“So I think they were covering areas of the pitch. But also, they look exciting when the ball turns over and they go forward. So I think it’s a really special partnership.”
McKennie, in many ways, appears to be the ideal January signing. It is never easy to bring a player in midway through the season. Marcelo Bielsa obviously tended to resist the temptation to sign anyone in the winter.
But McKennie knows Adams extremely well. And the US captain is one of the first names on the teamsheet for Leeds. So having that bond was only going to help the 24-year-old settle in.
It remains to be seen if they can build on that showing. And how Leeds manage the pair along with Marc Roca is going to be very interesting to see. Roca is another who has impressed since joining.
But it is surely fair to say that if Leeds keep themselves in the league, that partnership between McKennie and Adams is something to really build on from next season.