Leeds United’s senior side got their pre-season campaign off to a shaky start with a 1-1 away draw at Championship side Blackburn Rovers. The Whites named a strong side as Marcelo Bielsa watched on from the dugout. Pascal Struijk cancelled out Connor McBride’s deflected free-kick late on.
Here are three talking points, including one player that is clearly proving his transfer fee:
Shackleton can save Radrizzani some cash
Luke Ayling was named on the bench as Leeds took the Ewood Park pitch. It saw youngster Shackleton named on the right of a back four. With Leeds losing Gaetano Berardi, the Whites need cover on the right side of the defence. Shackleton was brilliant, getting up and down with ease.
The Leeds academy product, who is naturally a midfielder, is the perfect Bielsa player. Incredible stamina, teemed with bags of versatility. While he is more suited to the Mateusz Klich/Stuart Dallas role, his ability on the right of the defence saves Leeds the need to buy a right-back.
If Valencia bid, player must go
Helder Costa’s time at Leeds looks as if it is growing to a close. With Harrison signed permanently, Raphinha on fire, the potential of a new signing and Ian Poveda looking better and better, Costa could go. He is attracting interest from Spanish side Valencia this summer (Athletic).
Bielsa handed Costa the chance to prove his worth on Wednesday night, but starting him in an unusual role up top. It didn’t work. No ability to link the play, or even provide a threat. Struggling out wide and showing little versatility, if Valencia make a decent offer, Leeds have got to cash in.
Harrison worth every single penny
On the other side of the coin, Harrison signed for around £15million and the ex-Manchester City star – yes, we can call him that now – was excellent. He looked fit, strong and full of confidence. The England ace was pulling out keepy-uppies, nutmegs, the whole shabang.
A bargain, then. He even got the assist, another example that his end product – which was a major issue in his first season – continues to improve. Eight goals and eight assists in 36 Premier League games last season makes him a proper Leeds asset. Junior Firpo even thinks he is a baller.