Daniel Farke needs 'crazy' Leeds United partnership to flourish again for crucial three-game season

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville have been crucial to this season’s success and could well decide Leeds United’s fate.

For a period, the path seemed inevitable: Georginio Rutter to Crysencio Summerville to goal. Simple as that.

And at times it really was as simple as that. Leeds United had two of the Championship’s most dangerous attackers at their disposal, creator and finisher working in perfect tandem, Summerville on course for 20 league goals and Rutter not far behind with the assists.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Two players who have, for the most part, looked simply too good for the Championship, Summerville and Rutter have formed the core of Leeds’ attacking threat all season. They have been the constant in a front-four that has seen changes elsewhere, from Dan James to Wilfried Gnonto and Patrick Bamford to Joel Piroe.

Those four have seen appearances and goal contributions spread fairly evenly but it is Rutter and Summerville who stand out, the only attacking players to start more than 40 of the 46 Championship games. As inevitable as their presence was their link-up and a direct assist to goal combination on six occasions is bettered only in the league by Leif Davis and Conor Chaplin of Ipswich Town.

The Leeds pair were well on course to top that particular list but a drop in their contributions has coincided with a drop in form and results overall. Not since the 3-0 win at home to Rotherham in February has Rutter set Summerville up to score, a goal which had them as the most deadly combination across England’s top-four divisions. Never have they been needed more.

Momentum carried Leeds through to the March international break and Rutter underwent surgery on a hernia issue, returning quickly for the 2-2 draw at Watford in which he was understandably below par. But the form has not returned and Rutter is yet to register a single goal or assist since coming back, with Daniel Farke opting to remove him early in all of the last four games - three of which have been defeats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Keep up-to date with all the latest Leeds United headlines, with the free Yorkshire Evening News - Leeds United newsletter.

Summerville has continued to score - albeit not at the same rate - but relied on others to provide the chances, often creating them himself. The 22-year-old has found it difficult on his own as teams double or triple up on him. It’s at these points he needs someone to drag players away, open up space and then feed him as Rutter has done so often this season.

“Good players always play well together, especially when you have offensive players who more or less see and judge a game with the same eyes and thoughts,” Farke said of the pair earlier this season. “Those are pretty creative players, brave players and are doing some crazy things on the pitch.

“They do the unexpected but it’s like sometimes they have the same vision in situations and the same technique and precision find each other. It’s not in each and every moment, otherwise they would go for the Ballon d’Or… so there is still room for improvement.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That room for improvement has become evident in recent weeks, and it is no slight on the pair who are both still only 22-years-old. A drop in form is inevitable for such young players during a 46-game campaign, but Farke needs his partnership to flourish now more than ever.

Leeds go to Norwich for the first-leg of their play-off semi-final on Sunday and Farke will remember the last trip, a 3-2 comeback win in which Rutter set up Summerville for the decisive goal. The best of both on show in one swift move, Rutter picking up a loose ball just outside the Whites box before sliding his teammate into acres of space, Summerville racing, slowing, cutting inside and curling a now trademark finish into the far corner.

A combination that seemed inevitable last time Leeds went to Carrow Road but one that has since faded. Farke will hope his two attacking stars can rediscover that form for three more games. It’s the kind of partnership that can secure promotion.