Stuart Dallas struggles to ‘cope’ with the demands of playing as a full-back for Leeds United, former Whites goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has told Football Insider.
The 30-year-old started as a right-back in Jesse Marsch’s first game in charge of the Whites against Leicester City on Saturday. It was the 21st time that he has started on either side of the back four this season (11 on the right, 10 on the left).
Over the course of his career, Dallas has played most of his minutes as a left midfielder, but like his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa, it seems that Marsch views him as a versatile option.
Kenny has urged Marsch to restore Dallas to a midfield role, warning that he is easy meat for ‘top wingers’ at full-back. The 43-year-old also suspects that the Northern Irishman is finding the experience ‘a bit embarrassing’.
The former Premier League goalkeeper told Football Insider: “He’s better in midfield rather than full-back. Yes, he’s got loads of energy and dynamism, but you can tell he’s spent most of his career as a winger at times.
“Look at his body positioning, he gets squared up by top wingers and too flat-footed, which is a bit embarrassing at times.
“His skills are best in midfield, where he is good on the ball and a runner who does the dirty week. He couldn’t cope always at full-back.”
Against Leicester, Harvey Barnes did find a lot of joy on their left flank, completing four out of his six dribbles, winning five of his seven ground duels and scoring the winning goal (via SofaScore).
However, it’s worth noting that Dallas was only playing at right-back because Luke Ayling had moved into the heart of defence following an injury to Diego Llorente.
In an ideal world, Leeds would perhaps have two natural senior right-backs, but instead Dallas is the utility man. Until he gets a chance to reinforce the squad in the summer, Marsch can only work with what he’s got, even if Kenny has his misgivings about the 30-year-old in that role.
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