STEVE EVANS has heaped praise on centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci for resurrecting his career at Leeds United to become part of the head coach’s current first choice XI.
Bellusci’s long-term Leeds prospects looked particularly bleak following September’s 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough in which the Italian endured a nightmare performance capped by a 32nd-minute own goal.
But the 26-year-old has capitalised on two enforced absences for captain Sol Bamba – through suspension followed by injury – to now becoming a first-choice pick alongside Liam Cooper at the heart of United’s defence.
The duo kept their second clean sheet from their last three games with Sunday’s 1-0 victory at home to Preston with Evans now likely to keep the partnership intact for tomorrow’s Sky Bet Championship trip to Nottingham Forest.
Evans reasoned: “Bellusci is a boy that when we came in the door everyone wanted to criticise, everyone.
“I don’t think he had too many friends in the world outside his front door.
“I had a real good chat with him about what it would take to get in the team and stay in the team, be disciplined and how to conduct himself and how to be part of everything.
“He’s embraced every bit of that and I’m absolutely delighted for Pepe.
“He’s a good lad.
“Everyone has really taken to the Bellusci that we have seen in the last couple of months and his form has been great.”