Eirik Bakke compares present day Leeds United trio to former Whites stars and highlights similarities of different eras at Elland Road

Eirik Bakke says there are similarities between Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United team and the Whites side he used to play for, comparing three modern day players to a trio of former Elland Road stars.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 5:33 am

Bakke made 192 appearances for Leeds between 1999 and 2006 including 128 outings in the Premier League and 34 in either the Champions League, Champions League qualifiers or UEFA Cup.

The Norwegian international even stepped out in the second leg of the 2001 Champions League semi-final against Valencia and says there are similarities between the present day side and the team in which he used to star for.

Leeds sit fourth-bottom in the Premier League table in their second season back in the country's top flight after a 16-year absence but Bakke has given the present day side his ultimate backing and has compared Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips to three star men of yesteryear.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

HUGE PRAISE: Former Leeds United star Eirik Bakke, left, has compared three present day Whites players to ex-Elland Road stars, likening Kalvin Phillips to David Batty, left. Picture by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

Asked how the two sides compared, Bakke told the Official Leeds United Podcast: "I think it's very similar.

"The way that Bielsa wants the team to play is more like the team that I came to - a lot of energy, a lot of pace, a lot of hard pressing football, attacking football.

"I think that's what Leeds supporters want.

"I think he brought the style back of what the Leeds fans wanted to come and see, you can dominate the game and you are playing quick, attacking football with a lot of pace so it is something that I see.

"Of course, it goes a lot quicker now than when I was playing.

"But you had Harry Kewell of course as well with the pace, we have Raphinha now, a similar type of player. All clubs need players like this.

"You have Bamford, we had Viduka so I would say it is a similar type of football.

"You have Phillips there, we had Batty, you have energy in the team.

"Of course, with the players they have now and the football they play, at that time of course, it is quite similar to what Leeds fans want to see."

Reflecting on his own time at Leeds and asked what were his fondest memories, Bakke recalled: "So many good memories.

"Good people and a great city to play in, just to play in front of the Leeds fans was something.

"When I was a young boy growing up, the Premiership in Norway was very big so the dream for me was to move over to England play even though I was an Everton supporter!

"But for me to come over and play for Leeds and play with so many talents and so many good players and managers and great fans, it was a dream.

"It's very hard to say the highest and lowest it's been.

"You have been at the top fighting for winning the league, you are in the Champions League, you have been fighting relegation and you have been doing everything.

"But just to play for Leeds and to play in front of all the great fans there.

"Of course there is always something you remember more than anything but it was just to play nights at Elland Road with the floodlights, European nights, that's maybe what I look back on and am missing the most."

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins