Tyler Roberts explains personal Marcelo Bielsa impact as Leeds United forward nears full flow

TYLER ROBERTS has had to be patient to show Leeds United just what he can do.

HANDY RETURN: The re-emergence of Tyler Roberts, right, has been a big boost for Leeds United and head coach Marcelo Bielsa. The forward is pictured celebrating his recent strike against Queens Park Rangers alongside Jack Harrison. Picture by Simon Hulme.
HANDY RETURN: The re-emergence of Tyler Roberts, right, has been a big boost for Leeds United and head coach Marcelo Bielsa. The forward is pictured celebrating his recent strike against Queens Park Rangers alongside Jack Harrison. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Nearly two years after his arrival from West Brom in January 2018, only 22 league starts have come the forward’s way with injuries and competition for places preventing more.

Roberts, though, hopes times are finally changing with the 20-year-old buoyed by two full outings in succession and finally “in the flow” after a stop-start beginning.

Roberts had to wait seven months before making his first outing for Leeds after he cracked his shin shortly following his arrival for £2.5m and spending the subsequent six months on the sidelines.

A Whites debut finally presented itself in an EFL Cup first round tie at home to Bolton Wanderers in August 2018, while his league bow came at Millwall the following month, ahead of a fine goal-scoring double in the 3-0 Elland Road win against Preston North End three days later.

At last, Roberts looked to be up and running.

Yet a series of small niggles and knocks in the autumn and winter again disrupted momentum before a knee injury presented itself in the spring.

Once again, Roberts saw his approach to a new season heavily disrupted - but this time he hopes he is back for good.

After five outings from the bench, injury to left-back Gjanni Alioski presented the Gloucester-born footballer with a starting berth for last month’s Championship clash at home to Queens Park Rangers as part of a formation re-shuffle.

Roberts took only 39 minutes to make an impression by scoring his fourth goal for the Whites.

Playing as a No 10, Roberts kept his place for last weekend’s home clash with Blackburn Rovers and was again responsible for helping break the deadlock when his lobbed through ball led to Luke Ayling winning a 30th-minute penalty.

Patrick Bamford converted and Leeds were on their way to a 2-1 victory - with Roberts completing a second impressive 90-minute outing in a row.

Better still, says Roberts, there is still plenty more improvement left in the locker.

Asked if Leeds were finally seeing the best of him, Roberts smiled: “Getting close to it, yes. I think there is a lot more to come and I can be more dangerous when I am picking up the ball.

“That will hopefully come with more games and getting into my flow a bit. From coming in the other week to now playing 90 minutes has been great and my fitness is progressing massively.

“In the last game I got a touch of cramp at 60 minutes and on Saturday it was at 90, so it’s definitely improving.

“Now I’m just hoping for more starts. Obviously I’d also like to score more goals and get assists and just get goal contributions.

“But the main thing is just getting those starts and helping the team get three points every week.”

Roberts’ return to full fitness allied to his fine form is leaving Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa with a tough decision to make in picking his front men with even United’s Spanish wizard Pablo Hernandez having to settle for a place on the bench on his return from injury.

Jack Harrison and Helder Costa have filled the two wide slots either side of Roberts and the Wales international says he is relishing developing his game under Bielsa.

“He shows me things that I wouldn’t have picked up on before,” said Roberts. “He’s very intelligent with football and in the meetings we have he shows me things that you wouldn’t see yourself.

“To have him and to learn from him is an amazing experience for me.

“He is always demanding which is a good thing to have as a player and you are never relaxing or getting complacent.

“I enjoy it and enjoy the pressure from the fans, him and the players - it is good.

“He will let you know if you are not doing it right, but he does it in a good way and that helps me.

“I can learn from it and next time, I will not do it again.”

Based on Roberts’ last two displays, the same again would do just fine although he insists there were still plenty of areas of his game to be critical about against Rovers.

“I feel like it was a mixed performance from me,” said Roberts. “Some sloppy play and some good play.

“But it was good to get the 90 minutes again and just work for the team and another three points.

“As long as we get the three points, then it is the most important thing.”