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Championship

Ronaldo Vieira must start v Fulham after Bolton performance

The England youth international answered many critics with his Bolton display.

Mathew Nash

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Leeds United take on Fulham this evening in the championship, looking to build on their Good Friday win over Bolton Wanderers. The West Yorkshire side took all three points in the clash, with what was only Paul Heckingbottom’s second win since taking over from Thomas Christiansen.

One man who has surely played himself into a starting role against the Cottagers has to be midfielder Ronaldo Vieira. There is no doubt his season took an upward turn last week. After receiving something of a shock recall to the England under-20 squad, he was then handed his first start for Leeds since the February clash with Derby County.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 25: Ronaldo Vieira of Leeds United closes down Ben Osborn of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on January 25, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Vieira has had a tough campaign so far but against Bolton, he looked like the young midfield maestro who had burst onto the scene at Leeds last season.

Energetic and mobile he added a new dimension to the heart of Leeds’ midfield, which has been a major problem area this season.

His energy in midfield allowed Eunan O’Kane to focus on the better areas of his game and once the match was over Leeds fans poured onto social media to commend the youngster.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 19: Britt Assombalonga of Middlesbrough holds off a challenge from Ronaldo Vieira of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Middlesbrough at Elland Road on November 19, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

At just 19-years-old a lot of pressure has been put on to Vieira’s shoulders this season and a struggle with tendonitis has not helped him in his bid to be a regular starter under Christiansen or Heckingbottom.

But this performance spoke volumes about Vieira’s character. It showed that when the cards are on the table and his back is against the wall, the teenager will fight for his starting place.

Leeds need that embattled mentality in the middle of the park if they are to get anything against high-flying Fulham at Craven Cottage this evening.

After the way he answered his critics against Bolton, Vieira has surely made himself the first name on the Leeds team-sheet for this evening’s clash.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Monaco

“First of many” – Some Nottingham Forest fans react to Gil Dias’ wonder goal

The Portuguese youngster has signed for Forest on a season-long loan.

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Dias
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka has been extremely busy reshaping his squad during this summer and a series of high profile signings have given the Reds’ long-suffering supporters optimism ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

The Championship outfit have signed no fewer than nine players so far during the off season and it seems likely that Karanka will add more signings to his squad of players before the big August kick-off.

One man who has joined the Reds this summer is Gil Dias who has signed on a season-long loan from French giants Monaco and the 21-year-old has arrived with a big reputation and a glowing reference from agent Jorge Mendes.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Dias is one of several new signings who has been hoping to impress his new boss during a pre-season tour of Marbella and his wonder strike in a 3-0 win over Malaga this morning has firmly excited the Forest faithful.

After picking the ball up close to the half-way line, Dias danced past several defenders before calmly finishing under the advancing goalkeeper to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.

Given the nature of his first goal for the club some Forest fans were absolutely buzzing on Twitter, whilst Dias himself spoke of his delight at notching for the first time in the famous red.

Here we looked at some of the best tweets in reaction to Dias’ sensational goal…

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Manchester City

Oleksandr Zinchenko will thrive if given first-team football at Wolves next season

Wolves are reportedly interested in bringing the talented youngster to Molineux.

Liam Thomas

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Oleksandr Zinchenko
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City‘s talented youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set to leave the Premier League champions this summer in search of first team football.

According to the Telegraph, Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo is keen on bringing the wing back into his exciting setup, for a reported fee of £16 million.

Zinchenko started only six times for Pep Guardiola’s record breaking side last season and showed glimpses of what he could achieve if given a sufficient amount of game time.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Wolves seem the perfect destination for Zinchenko at this stage in his career and the ambitious west Midlands club are showing no signs of fear going into the new Premier League season.

At 21 years of age, Zinchenko has already featured 16 times for his country; Ukraine and filled in for the absent Benjamin Mendy last season for City and proved he was more than capable of mixing it with the leagues best when needed.

The chance to play under the enigmatic Nuno Espírito Santo certainly puts Zinchenko in an environment to thrive, and the Ukrainian international will in no doubt take with him to Molineux what Pep Guardiola has taught him during his time at the Citizens.

“He is a talented player, so clear, so clean. The way he plays, his decisions are always perfect. As a young player, I hope in the future he will help us.”

– Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, speaking about Oleksandr Zinchenko last season.

Given the opportunity to play week in, week out will only improve Zinchenko’s already undeniable talent, and his versatility to play anywhere in the midfield would be a real weapon for Wolves to have at their disposal.

Zinchenko is undoubtedly a coaches dream, with a high footballing IQ and never ending relentless energy he could become a valuable member of Wolves’ set up for the 2018/19 Premier League season.

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Leeds United

Leeds’ loan signing of Jamal Blackman adds much-needed goalkeeping depth

Max Cohen

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Jamal Blackman
Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, Leeds United announced the loan signing of goalkeeper Jamal Blackman from Chelsea.

The 24-year-old Englishman represents an astute signing on Marcelo Bielsa’s part, adding much-needed depth and Championship experience to the squad.

This summer, the Yorkshire club have seen nine players depart Elland Road, including goalkeepers Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan.

As a result of this large turnover, the Whites have been left extremely short-staffed between the sticks, with only 21-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the mix with meaningful first-team experience.

Blackman is a smart addition to the squad as it is clear more goalkeeping options are needed, and it would be naive to allow Peacock-Farrell to occupy the undisputed number one spot when he only has 12 Championship appearances to his name.

Although the youngster’s performances during the final months of last season showed his impressive potential, Peacock-Farrell nevertheless conceded 18 goals and kept just a solitary clean sheet in 11 matches.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

In future seasons, the 21-year-old will be trusted with the starting spot but, for now, Jamal Blackman is a more effective option and can teach Peacock-Farrell about goalkeeping in the Championship.

Blackman made 31 appearances for Sheffield United last season, steering the Blades to an impressive tenth-placed finish, nine points above Leeds. The goalkeeper kept nine clean sheets and only conceded 34 goals, a laudable feat.

In addition, Chelsea experts think highly of the goalkeeper, as the club has continued to hold to his services permanently after numerous loan spells – perhaps indicating they hold out hope he can perform for the Blues at a top level one day.

Speaking to Leeds Live, football.london Chelsea writer Oliver Harbord praised Blackman’s saving abilities.

“He comes with the reputation of being a top shotstopper with some excellent reactions.”

In all, the season-long loan signing of Jamal Blackman is a smart piece of business from Leeds, bolstering their threadbare goalkeeping options with a highly-rated young shot-stopper.

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