The newspapers went a little bit tika-taka-gaga for Alex Mowatt’s 10 pass goal against Everton last Saturday at Elland Road but regular Leeds United match goers won’t be surprised by what our midfield can do.
Any time non-Leeds fans raise the spectre of off-field chaos at the club I always reply ‘You haven’t seen our midfield have you?’ Last season Mowatt, Cook, Byram, a resurgent Murphy and an ‘out of nowhere’ Taylor provided a freshness that we’ve lacked for a long long time. They made us worth watching even if we lacked firepower ahead of them.
Be in no doubt Cook and Mowatt are at the same level as Milner, Lennon and Delph before them, and Byram and Taylor could easily perform at the sort of Premiership clubs Snoddy, Gradel, Howson and Johnson left for.
I obviously say this because I’m a Leeds fan and delighted by the emergence of home-grown stars, it’s rare to have a couple in the first team, but when you throw in Kalvin Phillips we’ve five. However it’s not just Leeds fans that have this point of view. After the dismal England U21s display in the European championships one national newspaper columnists asked “Why didn’t he take Leeds United’s Alex Mowatt as a surprise inclusion? He’s been scoring game-changing goals for fun all season, often from outside the box.”
Having said this I hope Mowatt won’t be our leading goalscorer this year and the Everton game featured two reasons why I believe he won’t be. The first is dead simple. Wood had a shot. At the goal. From outside the area. Something the hard-working Steve Morrison failed to do on so many occasions, preferring to do his centre forward work around the wings and seemedly scared to keep on greedily shooting till he started finding the net. The Wood goal got a lot of share time on Twitter at much the same time as a Morrison shot going for a throw-in was going round too as itr was announced he was heading back to Millwall.
The other moment I caught that pleased me is another simple one Blink and you missed it. Forcing a promising goalwards run along the Everton bi-line Lee Erwin stepped out towards the corner of the 6 yard box only to head back towards the goal by executing a great Cruyff turn and drilled his cross in. It was a flash in the pan but it was cocky and confident and that’s what we’ve been lacking in the penalty box for a long time. Between these two and Mowatt I hope we’ll be troubling Championship goal-scorers chart a lot this year.