Carlos Corberan praised Izzy Brown for pushing himself through 45 minutes after revealing the midfielder had been lined up for a half-hour comeback with Leeds United’s Under-23s last week.
Brown made his first Leeds appearance on Friday two-and-a-half months after signing from Chelsea in a significant step towards completing his recovery from ACL surgery.
United signed Brown on a season-long loan in August despite knowing that the 21-year-old was unlikely to be ready for their first team until January.
Brown suffered serious knee ligament damage during a loan at Brighton last season and came to Elland Road with a view to completing his rehabilitation and featuring in the second half of Leeds’ Championship term.
Friday’s development-squad clash against Birmingham City, a match Leeds lost 3-0, was overshadowed by a broken leg suffered by goalkeeper and fellow Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman but Brown’s comeback - his first outing at any level for almost a year - provided better news for head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Corbern, United’s first-team and development coach, told LUTV: “We’re happy to see Izzy Brown playing football again.
“He came from a long-term injury so of course we aren’t watching the right Izzy Brown yet. He needs time but the positive thing is that in his first game he was ready to play 45 minutes. We only had it in mind for him to play 30 minutes but it showed good motivation to extend the time he played.
“We saw something about his character which I think is positive. We hope we can help with Under-23s minutes and make him ready for the first team. This is the big positive.”
Brown won promotion from the Championship with Huddersfield Town in 2017 and Leeds believed he would provide strong competition for United playmaker Samuel Saiz in the latter stages of this term.
The England Under-21 international could appear again when the development squad travel to Sheffield United next Monday.