Finding a striker that is capable of scoring close to 30 goals a season is a key for any side but it’s also incredibly rare.
Southampton struggled for goals last year in the absence of Charlie Austin and in Shane Long, they have a forward that has seemingly forgotten where the goal is.
Leeds on the other hand, have arguably one of the best strikers in the league in Kemar Roofe. Recently, however, Bielsa’s side has been without their star man and have had to rely on youth product Tyler Roberts. So let’s compare the two strikers in this battle.
After seeing no clear pathway into the West Brom first-team, Tyler Roberts signed for Leeds in January this year in a £2.5 million deal, following an impressive loan spell with League One side Walsall.
During his time there, Roberts scored five goals in 17 games and in Roofe’s absence this season, he has scored three goals in six matches. Moreover, with Patrick Bamford out injured, the youngster’s goals have been vital in Leeds keeping their promotion ambitions alive.
Capable of playing on the wing or through the middle, Roberts looks like he is already a solid player to have in the first-team. Furthermore, at just 19, he’s only going to get better and it’s safe to say that Leeds might well have a future star on their hands.
TT Grade: B+
Ever since moving to the Premier League, it’s safe to say that Shane Long has never been a prolific goalscorer. Indeed, in his best season at Southampton, the now 31-year-old only scored 10 goals in the league.
Since then, in 62 appearances in the Premier League for Saints, he has only scored five goals – an absolutely shocking return for a top division forward. His lack of goalscoring threat was a direct reason why Southampton were locked in a relegation fight last season.
While his work rate is exceptional and his ability in the air is impressive for a striker under six foot, Long just simply hasn’t done enough since he made the move from Hull.
TT Grade: C+
Considering Shane Long’s terrible goalscoring record of late, this wasn’t the hardest battle. He may offer a lot in other areas of his game but when it comes down to fulfilling the sole purpose of a striker, Long fails horrifically.
At 19, Roberts has got plenty of potential and could be a huge boost for Leeds’ promotion push this season without Bamford. Both players are on differing ends of the spectrum, Roberts is on his way up while Long looks like he’s most certainly tapering downwards., Roberts wins this one.
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