Leeds United

90% passing accuracy: Leeds United ace showed exactly how to cope without Kalvin Phillips

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Leeds United started their campaign with a new-look midfield, but there are no signs of a hangover from the loss of Kalvin Phillips, as Tyler Adams showcased his expertise.

The Pirlo-esque balls and crunching tackles of Phillips are gone, but the win over Wolves showed that Leeds are heading in a different direction with their new signings, aiming for more of a complementary pairing than a sole reliance.

A pair with Champions League experience to their name propped up the base of Leeds’ pressing setup, with Marc Roca and Tyler Adams starting together as they did in pre-season against Cagliari.

What we saw was a setup with far more balance across the duo. Initial preconceptions about Roca and Adams suggested one is the distributor of the two while the latter is more of an enforcer, but we saw great variety from both.

In particular with Adams, Leeds had a player quietly going about business for 98 minutes, rarely making a song and dance of his job in midfield, but largely snuffing out the influence of Wolves’ midfield and attack in the final third.

Forced into wide areas through Leeds’ central pressing, Adams was still there to sweep up anything that did venture infield for the visitors, making 15 total recoveries – with five of those in the opposition half too (stats from Wyscout).

The setup Leeds took without the ball perfectly suited Adams’ role deeper in the side, with the Wolves defence forced to move the ball out quick as they were put under pressure, Adams and co recouped possession well, with four interceptions to go with his recoveries.

Where will Leeds finish this season?

Relegation

Relegation

Bottom half

Bottom half

Top half

Top half

Europe

Europe

Combative, as expected, Adams also managed to break up play when required too, as he totalled a success rate of 71% for his defensive duels throughout the match – a silly foul deep into added time a rare blot on his full-time record.

(David Rogers/Getty Images)

Where Adams really impressed was through his passing work, doing more than ‘keeping things simple’ like his 90% passing accuracy would suggest.

Swift ball progression is going to be a core principle under Marsch and in Adams, he has someone whose first thought is moving the ball vertically up the pitch towards the front men, with his 11 out of 12 forward passes and four from four into the final third proof he’s what we needed.

The pick of the bunch in that regard was in the build-up to Leeds’ winner, as he picked the ball up in Wolves’ half to slide a quick ball through the lines to Mateusz Klich. Two passes later, and Leeds have the ball in the net:

Like Aaronson, he’s not a player that instantly looks imposing when placed in the Premier League environment, but his athleticism shone through from a defensive perspective against Wolves, but what was most impressive was his intelligence throughout.

Always in the right space to either sweep up, or take Leeds forward, but very rarely did he make the wrong decision with the ball at his feet.

It’s only one game out of 38, but as first impressions go, Adams showed that he’s more than up to the task in midfield for Leeds – a potentially astute buy even at £20million.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.