In many ways it will have been an extremely frustrating season for Izzy Brown, who is still waiting to make his Leeds United debut in the Championship as the campaign enters its final three months.
Leeds took a chance on Brown in the summer, signing the attacking midfielder on loan from Chelsea despite the fact he’d been absent since January and was unlikely to return to action until December of 2018 at the earliest.
That serious knee ligament injury, combined with another setback, means that Brown is yet to debut for Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa, with his only opportunities coming in the under-23s.
Despite that, the 22-year-old looks like he’s enjoying himself. He’s scoring goals for the 23s and getting vital minutes under his belt. That chance is now surely on the horizon and Bielsa might consider stepping up his involvement after the first-team’s crushing 3-1 defeat to Norwich City last weekend.
For Brown, he will be itching to get going and show the Elland Road crowd, who have been extremely patient with him, exactly what he can bring to this promotion-chasing side.
This is a player who already has a promotion on his CV following a loan spell with Huddersfield Town in 2016/17. That year in 18 appearances he returned four very important goals for Town, stepping up in big games.
Leeds will hope he can do the same at Elland Road and be their ‘ace in the pack’, taking some of the burden off Pablo Hernandez in the process.
Hernandez is Leeds’ key creative cog and will continue to be for the run-in, but Brown is creative too and has an eye for a goal, which could be invaluable as the stakes get higher for the Whites.
It’s been a frustrating period out for Brown, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and a big role to play at Elland Road. Hitting the ground running and helping Leeds over the line in the race for promotion could make up for 12 difficult months.