It was less than a month ago that the Daily Mail reported that Marcelo Bielsa had held extensive talks with Tyler Roberts with the Leeds United youngster set for a prolonged run in the number 10 position.
Roberts had been excellent in his first few starts this season. He scored the opening goal in the win over Queens Park Rangers, and he looked to be reaching the level he had been at towards the end of last term.
The reported talks with Bielsa was a big statement of intent. Leeds have a lot of quality in those attacking midfield areas, and the Wales international only made 20 league starts last season.
Unfortunately, through little fault of his own, it already appears that Roberts is going to have to work his way back again after sustaining a first-half injury in the win over Reading.
Cruel blow for Roberts
He was replaced by Helder Costa at the Madejski Stadium. That prompted Pablo Hernandez to be pushed into the middle. And Leeds ultimately came away with a victory as Costa crossed for the man on the opposite flank Jack Harrison in the 87th minute.
And Costa staked a further claim for a regular start in Saturday’s win over Middlesbrough. The Portuguese scored an excellent goal as Leeds won 4-0.
It was a performance where everything seemed to click for Bielsa’s players. And given how reluctant Bielsa is to make changes, it does not appear to be out of the question to suggest that Roberts faces a real fight to get back into the side in the near future.
With Harrison in outstanding form, Costa improving and Hernandez still one of the best in the Championship, Roberts may have to be patient once he returns to full fitness.
That chance will, of course, come again. But you could understand if his current situation is a tough pill to swallow given the reports on Bielsa’s decision in mid-November.