Five Leeds Legends who would fit right in Marcelo Bielsa’s team
23 Dec 2020 04:54 pm, by YorkshireSquare
It’s always difficult comparing eras isn’t it? Leeds United have undoubtedly had some quality players in the past but how would they fare in the modern game, how would they cope with the demands Marcelo Bielsa places on his players. Looking at the current side, our weaknesses, the style of football played, the versatility and fitness levels required we have picked five Leeds legends of the past we think could slot in and improve the team. It’s always easy to pick the Revie greats; Bremner, Giles, Madley to name a few but we’ve tried to avoid that, picking only one. We’ve gone for players who we ting could handle the demands of the modern game. Do you agree? Who would you have gone for?
Tony Currie may have looked more like a glam rocker with his long blond hair but when he was on song he was one of the best players of the 1970s. With a football at his feet, he could stand shoulder to shoulder with the great entertainers, his silky skills made him one of the finest showmen in the game. His sublime skills, whether picking a pass or curling in a stunning goal became trademarks. Tony Currie was the nearest thing Leeds has to fill the Bremner, Giles combination. The perfect player to pull the strings in a Marcelo Bielsa midfield. For two season he was a regular in the England squad but could not add domestic honours. Off the pitch he fits into the Bielsa mould too, a family man to the core. It was a cup of tea and the telly rather than a nightclub and the latest Miss World for Tony Currie. He played 123 games for Leeds and scored 25 goals.
Don Revie built his defence around Jack Charlton and gave him free rein over organizing Gary Sprake, Paul Reaney, Willie Bell and Norman Hunter into the most formidable defence in Britain. A supreme header of the ball and excellent tackler, Charlton developed into the best Centre Half in England and in his prime would be a superb addition to Marcelo Bielsa’s side. His height was used to great advantage at Leeds corner kicks and his surprisingly agile defensive ability kept out even the greatest strikers of his day. No need to get nervy over defending corner with big ‘The Giraffe’ in the Leeds defence. Charlton also fancied himself as a bit of a striker too, playing up front a few occasion early on in Revie’s reign. Big Jack spent his entire footballing career at Leeds, making an astounding 733 appearances over 21 years and scoring 96 goals.
Left back has always been a bit of a dilemma for Marcelo Bielsa, no one has ever really pinned the role down. Stuart Dallas is doing a great job but it’s not his natural position. Tony Dorigo was the man to solve Howard Wilkinson’s problems at left back and became Leeds United's best player in that position since Terry Cooper. His cultured play, positional sense and lightning speed saw him send a stream of crosses, many converted by Lee Chapman. He was no slouch in the goalscoring stakes scoring in the 4-3 Charity Shield win over Liverpool and was also dangerous with free kicks anywhere within scoring range. His pace, final ball and set piece delivery make him the ideal left back for Marcelo Bielsa and Bamford and Rodrigo would thrive off his delivery. In 204 starts and another 4 appearances from the bench Dorigo scored 6 goals.
Before the dawning of a golden era at Elland Road in the early 1960's, Leeds United were famed more than anything else for their association with a staggering talent named John Charles, Il Gigante Buono, the Gentle Giant. Marcelo Bielsa loves versatility and Charles was certainly versatile. As a centre half no one could beat him in the air and as a centre forward he was lethal. Voted the greatest ever foreign player to play for Juventus, winning 3 Italian league medals with the club, holds the scoring record in a season for Leeds United with 42 league goals in 1953-54 and the youngest ever Welsh international when he got his first of his 38 cap at only 18. A striker who can cover at centre back, perfect for Bielsa! Charles made 327 league and cup appearances for Leeds scoring 157 goals.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Right foot. Left foot. Headers. Inside the box. Outside the box. Lobs. Chips. Volleys. Tap-ins. Penalties. Free-kicks. Curlers. Thunderbastards. Team goals. Selfish goals. Fluke goals. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was born to score goals, lots and lots of goals. Not the obvious choice for a Bielsa team perhaps, he could be a temperamental character, but he always scored goals! Hasselbaink responded to discipline though. George Graham used to get on at the Dutchman about not working hard enough and not running the channels but Hasselbaink thrived under the stern Scotsman and I’m sure he would thrive under leadership of Marcelo Bielsa. For Leeds, Atlético Madrid and Chelsea Hasselbaink was the twenty goal a season striker Leeds United could really do with and he would thrive off the number of chances created by this current Leeds United side. In 82 appearances Jimmy produced 42 (usually flamboyant) goals for Leeds United.