Former Leeds United player and club hero Ian Harte has showered praise on Tyler Roberts, saying he is a ‘very intelligent’ forward.
Roberts joined Leeds from West Brom in the January transfer window of 2018, and hasn’t been able to maintain consistency in his game. He is a highly talented forward, and has showcased flashes of brilliance at times under Marcelo Bielsa, but his progress has been hampered through recurrent injuries.
The 21-year-old is a versatile player who can either play as an attacking midfielder or as a striker. Bielsa personally prefers him in the attacking midfield role. Roberts has managed only 45 appearances for the Whites since joining the club, but there’s a general feeling that he could have a bright future ahead of him.
The Wales international has managed three goals this season, including a brace against Hull City after coming off the bench. Harte has praised him heavily but feels Bielsa’s system is ‘just frustrating’ for the strikers.
“Since he signed from West Brom he’s really matured. Okay, he’s had a few niggling injuries since he arrived but he’s definitely a very clever player,” Harte told Football League World.
“He’ll get you goals and drop into those pockets where defenders will want to come out, so he’s a very intelligent player. It’s just frustrating for the strikers there because of the formation that they play and the fact that it’s only one up front.”
To be fair, Bielsa has struggled with squad rotation this season, and especially with his strikers. Leeds play with one striker up front, and Patrick Bamford is the first-choice striker at the club.
Bamford has come under strong criticism for his poor finishing from time to time but Bielsa stuck with him through thick and thin because of his work-rate and the balance he provides to the system. He brings a lot more to the table that is fundamental to how Bielsa approaches the game.
Roberts, on the other hand, brings flair, pace, and dynamism to the side. Plus, he is a very good finisher. He is expected to get more games ahead of Jean-Kevin Augustin if he remains fit.