Matt Kilgallon reacts to Junior Firpo's display in Leeds draw with Villa
Matt Kilgallon has told BBC Radio Leeds (broadcast on 2/10; 18:37) that Junior Firpo looked nervous after the left-back made his first appearance of the season in Leeds United’s draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.
Leeds fought their way to an impressive point at Elland Road. The Whites’ hopes of going on and winning the game were largely dashed when Luis Sinisterra was sent off at the start of the second-half.
Unsurprisingly, Jesse Marsch’s side changed shape after the dismissal. And it was Firpo who came on, replacing Marc Roca as Leeds went to five at the back.
Junior Firpo looked nervous
Firpo had not played for the first-team before the international break after sustaining an injury at the start of pre-season. And there were some shaky moments.
However, the 26-year-old did what was needed in the circumstances. He was largely disciplined and did not make any costly errors on his return to the side.
Nevertheless, Kilgallon felt that it was apparent that Firpo had been out for a long time following his performance.
“I just thought he looked a little bit nervous,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “Not match-fit to be honest. He goes out there and I think sometimes he’s trying to do too much. You see him rushing out and doesn’t slow down.
“A couple of his clearances, he headed a few off the back of his head really. But he’s down on confidence. You can see it in him. But he’s an athlete.”
It is difficult to be too critical of how any Leeds player got on in possession in that second-half. If they were able to string some passes together, it was helpful. But the most important thing was that they were able to keep the visitors at bay.
With that, Firpo deserves a lot of credit for the way he stepped up. It did seem that playing with five at the back and having Pascal Struijk alongside him was beneficial.
It is imperative that Firpo steps up after a really tough first season in the Premier League. He is also facing a battle for his place in the side after Struijk’s impressive start to the campaign.
Perhaps Firpo could have done a few things better against Villa. But surely, he deserves some credit for doing the job that was needed on Sunday.
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