THERE is a fair bit of pressure on 19-year-old Tyler Roberts at Leeds United as the lone striker, only because of how the team has started and how Kemar Roofe has been.
But Roberts has done very well to hit the ground running as he has done and you’d like to think that reflects the fact that everyone is there chomping at the bit to get their chance.
His two goals in mid-week came against a Preston side that looks out of sorts but you have still got to beat what is put in front of you and Roberts has started to show that he can fill the gap left by Roofe for however long it is by doing fantastically well.
The pressure is on but he wants to make a decent start to being a Leeds United player so what better way than to be starting and scoring goals?
Roberts was definitely thrown in at the deep end for his first game in starting at Millwall but that is the nature of playing this league.
And youth possibly works in his favour in the sense that he can just jump in and forget about anything peripheral and just play the game how he sees fit. It appears that in the time he has had in the team he has done exactly what he needed to do.
Roberts has started to show that he can fill the gap left by Roofe for however long it is by doing fantastically well.David Prutton
Kemar has set quite a high standard with the goals that he has scored and Roberts probably saw Patrick Bamford come in and thought ‘this is another player that I need to try and get beyond to get into the team’. But sometimes it happens that when you are biding your time and waiting for your chance that the pathway suddenly becomes clear because of injuries and suspensions and Roberts can only do what he has been doing so far to maintain his place in the team.
Leeds are still unbeaten and still top but you have still got to be looking at just the next game.
Marcelo Bielsa will obviously have planned for what he wants in the coming weeks and months but mentally and emotionally you have got to concentrate on what comes next.
But the most amazing thing with Bielsa is what he has done with more or less exactly the same set of players from last season.
So far he has elevated the level of the team across the board to something that we did not see from them last year. Now the next bit of it is consistency, something that again we didn’t see from them last year. We saw them do well last year and then hit a wall and then not win.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Bielsa would be in the frame of mind of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ but the way he has kept on top of the players and kept reminding them of what is needed is the best trick that we have seen from him so far in elevating them to that level.
But the toughest part for any professional footballer – and it becomes tougher the lower you work your down the pyramid – is consistency because you have got to do the same things that get you the same results over and over again.
You look at the top players in the best teams around the world and a lot of them are naturally brilliant and can do amazing things with a football.
But the rest of them are paid for constant delivery and consistency of performance as in knowing that you will get seven or eight out of ten from them every single week for however long the season lasts.
That’s the biggest challenge for this Leeds side – not can they do it because they have shown they can do it, but can they do it over the course of a season and maintain pace and pressure on other teams?
But I think for Leeds, as much as they were at the top of the table in similar circumstances last season, this feels like they are setting a stronger pace for teams to try and catch them.
Leeds will now come up against former head coach Garry Monk when Birmingham City come to Elland Road today and Garry got quite a noisy reception when he went back with Middlesbrough last year. I can see the feelings that the fans will have because of their love of Leeds United and how they will perceive a manager walking away from a club as something that they just can’t get their head around.
That’s understandable from a fans’ point of view as you can’t explain someone’s love for a football club. You either have it or you don’t and Leeds fans have it in spades. They have every right to say what they want.
What I will say, is I thought Garry was a superb manager for Leeds United in the very short time that he was there.
I thought he brought a real respect back to the position and a real calm authority about it which I think a lot of Leeds fans did appreciate.
I think deep down the majority of Leeds fans know what he did for them in the short space of time that he was there.
Championship on Sky Sports today: QPR v Norwich - Sky Sports Main Event 5.15pm.