Former Leeds defender Danny Mills believes Tyler Roberts could be used to fill in for Patrick Bamford as a centre-forward this campaign.
The Whites have recently been hit by the news that on-loan frontman Eddie Nketiah has been ruled out of action until December, which leaves Bamford as the only recognised senior striker in Leeds’ current ranks.
Roberts has been primarily deployed in attacking midfield role since his move to Elland Road in January 2018, but Mills has now backed him to potentially function as a replacement striker this term following his return from injury.
The Welshman has made six appearances so far this term, and he netted his first goal of the campaign during Leeds’ 2-0 victory over QPR last weekend when showed excellent composure to slot the ball past Liam Kelly in the 39th minute.
Speaking to Football Insider, Mills has now claimed that Roberts possesses a number of positive traits which could see him suited to a role at the top of Leeds’ attacking line.
“He’s a big, strong, powerful player, isn’t he? If you can get him fit and get him playing, he’s always going to be a threat and that’s what he was (against QPR),” he said.
“It was a very good finish, very, very calm finish, side footed, calm into the bottom corner, he didn’t slash at it.”
Roberts has now made a total of 37 appearances since his switch to Leeds, during which time he has scored four goals and registered six assists, while he has also gained international recognition in the Wales side since his move up north.
Can you see Tyler Roberts functioning effectively as a striker?
This is not a bad suggestion from Mills, and I’m sure Bielsa will consider the possibility of playing Roberts up front at some point, but the Wales international should be primarily utilised in the attacking midfield role.
Roberts’ fine finish against QPR last weekend is clear evidence that he has the goalscoring touch to lead the Whites’ line, but he has been effective from midfield in recent weeks and Bielsa should not be looking to change this.
The 20-year-old should only be seriously considered for a centre-forward role if Bamford is unavailable for a match, or needs to be substituted, as I think the current system is effective enough as it is.