Leeds United secured a valuable point against Swansea on Tuesday evening as they twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw in unfavourable circumstances.
Liam Cooper’s pre-match injury blow dealt Marcelo Bielsa a bad hand just minutes before arguably his biggest test of the season, but a reshufle which saw Luke Ayling move into central defence and Jamie Shackleton step in at right-back proved sufficient to return to Yorkshire with a positive result.
Bielsa demonstrated the ruthless side of his managerial style during the match by first withdrawing Kalvin Phillips after just 28 minutes before also withdrawing Ezgjan Alioski at half-time following an average first-half performance.
Alisoki’s replacement was the recent recruit Jack Harrison who typically operates down the right-wing where he tends to cut inside onto his favoured right-foot. In truth, Harrison struggled to adapt to the speed of the match and he wa certainly lacking a level of sharpness that is needed to thrive at this level.
A moment of potential redemption for a sub-standard performance arrived for Harrison in the dying embers of the game, as Lewis Baker played an incisive through ball into his path which handed him an opportunity to make himself a hero with a last gasp winner. But Harrison failed to get his head up in time and he was quickly dispossessed by a Swansea defence who were alive to the danger.
Although their criticism was somewhat justified, it’s simply far too early to be writing him off at this stage in his career with the club.
First and foremost, Harrison is hugely inexperienced at this level and he was pitting his wits against one of the best sides in the division. And considering the fact he was playing away from his preferred right-wing position, it’s no wonder he struggled to impress during the second-half.
What was promising to see from Harrison was that he never shied away from an opportunity to get on the ball; in football there are very few more promising signs to see in a young player than the confidence to continuously seek possession of the ball even when things aren’t going their way.
With that to consider, the Leeds supporters simply have to be patient with their new recruit this season, as he will need time to settle into his new environment and adapt to the speed of the Championship.
But if he continues to strive to make a difference when he is handed an opportunity by Bielsa, there is no doubt he will dramatically improve as the season develops and eventually prove his early doubters wrong.
Leeds fans – thoughts? Let us know below!