Cody Drameh in 'best moment' of Leeds United career according to Marcelo Bielsa
Cody Drameh is in the best form of his 14-month Leeds United career according to head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The right-back joined the Whites from Fulham in August of last year and impressed for Mark Jackson’s under-23s without navigating the leap to the senior side.
Other than a single appearance on Bielsa’s substitutes’ bench for the Premier League trip to Brighton last season, the entirety of Drameh’s season played out in the EFL Trophy and Premier League 2.
His defending in one on one situations caught the eye of 23s commentators and as the campaign progressed he looked more and more comfortable getting forward to become an attacking threat for Jackson. In the summer a number of clubs at home and abroad were monitoring the 19-year-old’s situation in case a loan move became possible, but it was decided that he would stay at Leeds to continue his development.
He moved closer to the first team thanks initially to Luke Ayling’s knee injury, although has remained behind Jamie Shackleton in the pecking order at right-back and prior to the midweek Carabao Cup trip to Arsenal had been named among the replacements for four league games.
His debut finally arrived at the Emirates, with Shackleton rested and Ayling still unavailable, but Bielsa insisted the teenager’s place in the team was earned on merit and not through circumstance.
“A presence that was deserved,” said the head coach.
“Since Cody has been here at Leeds United, this is the best moment he has gone through. In general lines I think his participation [in the game] was good.”
The expectation is that Shackleton will return for Sunday’s big game at Norwich City as Ayling continues to recover from his minor operation, but Drameh did not look out of place against a quick, tricky Gunners attack and is now at least providing Bielsa with a third plausible option at right-back.
Although the head coach expects Raphinha to be available at the weekend, he still has a number of question marks over senior players, including Patrick Bamford who has now missed six games through an ankle problem and Junior Firpo whose muscle injury has kept him out of three.
Previously Bielsa suggested that the left-back would have a chance of returning from the visit to Norwich onwards.
Whoever is at his disposal, the Argentine saw enough at the Emirates, in the first half at least, to suggest Leeds can overcome their injury problems to play the football he wants to see.
“With the players we have now we can attempt to reproduce what we did last season,” he said.
“Of course eight players who usually play didn’t participate but the first half clearly showed we can play how we want even when we’re missing players.”