Fresh Leeds United addition has every chance of starting at Tottenham where Whites are capable of winning - David Prutton

Leeds United return to Premier League action with Sunday’s clash at a Tottenham Hotspur side now in the hands of Antonio Conte who is one of the most demanding managers there is.

By David Prutton
Friday, 19th November 2021, 4:45 am

He will be making sure that his lot come flying out of the traps and this is the first time that he can make a first impression with his home fans in a league game.

The game at Spurs was always going to be tough anyway because there is a very good team in there that has not exactly been ripping up trees.

But the appointment of Conte makes it all the more edgy which is good from a Premier League entertainment point of view.

BACK WITH A BANG: Leeds United midfielder Adam Forshaw, centre, impressed in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City, above, before the international break and now has a strong chance of starting at Spurs. Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images.

It will be intriguing to see what happens because we know that Conte likes to have a really solid base and to contain the opposition.

I will be intrigued to see what he does with Leeds at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Leeds lost 3-0 there back in January when Spurs were managed by Jose Mourinho and if you are a Spurs fan you are hoping that Harry Kane is now back fit and firing having scored a boatload of goals in the recent international games.

That is obviously one thing for Leeds to keep an eye on.

Spurs need to be getting back to hitting some sort of robust form in the league as they are still only in ninth place and Leeds are not a million miles behind them.

For Leeds, it’s a chance to try and take points off the teams that you are trying to catch.

There are only five points between the two sides and Spurs are not necessarily massive favourites given what we saw before the international break from Leeds against Leicester which was the best we have seen from them so far this season.

That was Leeds back to their fit and firing best.

We will find out the latest Leeds team news at Marcelo Bielsa’s pre-match press conference this morning and Leeds had six players out against Leicester in Luke Ayling, Patrick Bamford, Junior Firpo, Robin Koch, Joe Gelhardt and Jamie Shackleton.

Given the size of the squad and how good the squad is, like any team that has climbed back into the Premier League, it is still at the mercy of having its first choice XI out there.

But Leeds have still got some very, very good players to choose from.

Adam Forshaw has now come back in and Stuart Dallas was fantastic for Northern Ireland on Monday against Italy.

Hopefully he carries that back into his league form and there is a Leeds team there that can get a result and a performance against Spurs, no doubt about it.

With Forshaw, you can’t underestimate the power of adrenalin and the motivation that comes after being away from the first team for such a long period of time, especially when the team has been doing very well.

That is the frustration for a player when they are in that position.

If you look at him and what he is capable of achieving, he has set his standards now.

It’s a tough task to get into a Leeds United midfield but he has done absolutely everything that he could have done to retain his place and after that it’s about getting the games back under his belt after missing such a long time.

Leeds have seen three players help their nations qualify for the World Cup this week in Kalvin Phillips with England plus Diego Llorente and Rodrigo with Spain and Raphinha had already qualified with Brazil.

Then you have got Liam Cooper, Dan James and Mateusz Klich heading to the play-offs with Scotland, Wales and Poland respectively.

They should have a spring in their step and for those that are heading for the play-offs, the pressure then comes in March when they have got to work their way through what those play-offs are, which is three teams from 12 going through.

But with Cooper and James, given the collective positivity with both Wales and Scotland you are hoping that they bring that positivity back and it’s the same with Dallas with Northern Ireland.

They might not be going to the World Cup but that was a wonderful display on Monday so hopefully that is brought back into the Leeds fold.

Rodrigo helped Spain over the line against Sweden and he is United’s record signing but when it comes to the size of the signing and the size of the transfer fee, sometimes they are a bit arbitrary.

Really, if you are a player coming to Leeds you have got to earn your place in the side regardless of how much you cost and where you come from because it is such a well-trained and well marshalled group of players.

No matter how much you cost, at this moment in time the team is greater than the sum of its parts so any player can only benefit from a run in the team.

Rodrigo lined up behind Dan James for the Leicester game but Patrick Bamford has set the benchmark for how that team does going forward.

With Rodrigo, maybe we have been too quick to judge a player that has got to acclimatise both on and off the pitch and we will possibly see the best of him now given a run in the team of a settled side.

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Thank you Laura Collins