Leeds United’s ultimate dream of clinching promotion may well rest on factors beyond human control, as the opening few months have served to illuminate the cruel unpredictability of injuries.
Marcelo Bielsa’s impact at Leeds United has given everybody involved with the club a new sense of optimism about their promotion credentials, even during a period of time when they have been hit by a series of injuries to key players.
Indeed, Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez, Barry Douglas and Luke Ayling most recently have all fallen victim to injury problems this season, and the former has recently opened up about his time away from the field after scoring a controversial equaliser against Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Whilst Roofe expressed his disappointment at being forced to spend five weeks on the sideline through injury, he revealed that he has returned from his absence with a new found sense of physical and mental strength.
“But it allowed me to get stronger in the gym, on the field and even stronger in the head as well – watching games, learning and I’m back now.”
Roofe’s absence arrived at a time when Leeds were in flying form near the top of the Championship table, but his time on the sideline has far from derailed their promotion bid.
The Whites sit just 2 points off Sheffield United in top spot, and now that Roofe is back they have every chance of usurping Chris Wilder’s men in the coming weeks.
Naturally, Leeds suffered without Roofe at centre-forward but, as he has admitted, he used his time on the sideline to develop as a player and that may well pay dividends in the long run this season.
And not only has Roofe benefited in a backhanded way from the injury, Tyler Roberts has also benefited.
The 19-year-old was given his first taste of Championship football during a relatively pressure-free period of time, and if he had been forced to wait until later in the season for his first influx of games he may well have struggled to perform with the same promise he has demonstrated in recent weeks.
Leeds’ talisman is back in the team and scoring once again after a period of self reflection and physical improvement and, based on his recent admission, there is no doubt that his break from regular football will ultimately represent a blessing in disguise.
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