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The myth about Leeds United’s Eunan O’Kane is being exposed

Leeds United

The myth about Leeds United’s Eunan O’Kane is being exposed

The Irishman is having a poor campaign with Leeds United.

Leeds United ended their losing run at the weekend, drawing 2-2 with Reading at the Madejski Stadium. It could have been all three points though, if it was not for a Eunan O’Kane own goal.

It was a harsh moment for the Irishman, who has been one of the more publicly criticised Leeds players by the Elland Road faithful.

When signed by Garry Monk in August 2016 he was supposed to help Leeds in their bid for promotion. After all, O’Kane had experience of making it into the top-flight from his spell with Bournemouth.

IPSWICH, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Eunan O’Kane of Leeds United leaves the field after being sent off during the Sky Bet Championship match between Ipswich Town and Leeds United at Portman Road on January 13, 2018 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

But perhaps Leeds got it wrong by believing O’Kane had what it take to shore up their midfield.

O’Kane played a pivotal role in the rise of Bournemouth. He was a regular in their League One promotion campaign, where they finished second to Doncaster Rovers in 2012-13.

He then remained a regular as Bournemouth finished 10th in their first Championship campaign.


The following season and Bournemouth were promoted. However, O’Kane was not a regular. The Irishman only featured 11 times in the league that season, starting just eight times. O’Kane suffered ankle ligament damage that season. But even when fit, he could not usurp the likes of Harry Arter, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling in the first-team.

Bournemouth’s Irish midfielder Eunan O’Kane (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English FA Cup third round football match between Wigan Athletic and Bournemouth at The DW Stadium in Wigan, north-west England on January 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ?live? services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

O’Kane was not a pivotal member of Bournemouth’s promotion charge. In fact, he didn’t play for the Cherries after January of that season.

He was then a bit-part player in the Premier League and Leeds are simply discovering O’Kane’s level. The 26-year-old is a very good League One player, and at best a mid-table Championship one.

Leeds signed O’Kane hoping he could take them to the Premier League, but such success was beyond the midfielder.

Leeds need to find their best midfield partnership and it may be that contains O’Kane for the time being. But if they want to challenge for promotion next season, the Irishman is probably not the answer.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Everton fan for my sins.

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