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Whelan Tips Leeds United Midfielder To Pen A New Contract: Should Bielsa Keep Him At Elland Road?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with Football Insider, former Premier League forward Noel Whelan has tipped Leeds United midfielder Tyler Roberts to pen a new contract if he is willing to accept a squad role at Elland Road. Whelan said,

“Right now, he (Roberts) still needs to give me what I want from a number 10.

“He is getting on the ball and you see some of his performances have been better. But we need consistency.

“A number 10 has to do everything. They’ve got to be that special player.

“He needs to be able to change the momentum of a game, find that pass against a stubborn defence, come up with goals and special moments.

“There aren’t too many of those that I can remember from him. But, having said that, he’s still young.

“Has he got a part to play? Yes. Will it be in the first XI in my opinion? No. Is it worth taking a risk and handing him a new contract as a squad player? Yes.

“It’s up to him whether he wants to be a squad player at a big club. I think it’d be a losing battle if he’s up against Rodrigo and other players in that position.”

Tyler’s Campaign Of Mixed Emotions In The Premier League

The 22-year-old is having an up and down season at West Yorkshire as he has struggled to be consistent with his performances as a member of Marcelo Bielsa’s first team. Roberts has played in 22 league matches for the Whites this term, picking up two assists in the process.

The 13-time Wales international has failed to be productive with his contributions in the final third based on his average 0.6 tackles, 0.9 shots, 0.5 key passes and 0.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in this Premier League campaign. He has also been sloppy when distributing the ball after making just 70.5% of his attempted passes in the English first division (stats via whoscored).

Whelan tips Leeds United's Roberts to pen a new contract (Roberts is seen in the picture)
Leeds United v Liverpool – Premier League – Elland Road Leeds United s Tyler Roberts rues a missed chance during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Monday, April 19, 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos, or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xClivexBrunskillx 59289292

Should The Whites Keep Roberts At Elland Road?

Despite his recent struggles, there is no denying that Roberts has the potential to become a regular starter in Bielsa’s first XI in the coming seasons. He has decent pace in his locker and can make some encouraging runs with the ball towards the opposition penalty box.

However, the Welsh attacker has struggled to be clinical in the final third and also needs to add a few more assists to his game if he wants to get regular game time at Elland Road next season. Plus, he also needs to hit the gym to improve his upper-body strength so that he can be more effective in and around the opponent’s penalty area.

At 22, Roberts still has plenty of time to develop into a prolific presence in the attacking end of the pitch. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for Bielsa to retain his services for the long run with his current contract set to run out in the summer of 2022.

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