Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has been dealt a notable headache ahead of this evening’s Premier League clash at home to champions Manchester City, with the Elland Road outfit set to have to make do without summer signing Tyler Adams due to suspension.
The USA international – who joined from RB Leipzig on a £20m deal in the recent window – was dismissed late on in the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the Whites’ last competitive outing prior to the World Cup break, ensuring he will be absent for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s men.
The 23-year-old has already emerged as a leading figure for the Yorkshire side in the early months of the current campaign, with pundit Noel Whelan having claimed that the 5-foot-9 ace has “stepped right into” the shoes of former talisman Kalvin Phillips.
As such, the loss of the American in the centre of the park will be a notable blow for Marsch and co, with the club currently short of options to play alongside Marc Roca in that role with Adam Forshaw somewhat unreliable due to his injury record, while Mateusz Klich appears destined for an exit next month.
The former Red Bull Salzburg boss could well be better served turning to another recent addition to fill the void in the form of Darko Gyabi, with the 18-year-old no doubt chomping at the bit to feature against his previous employers.
The highly-rated teenager – who reportedly cost in the region of £5m during the summer – is yet to feature in the Premier League this season, with his only senior outing for Leeds having come in the Carabao Cup against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That outing showcased just a flavour of what the youngster can bring to the table as he won three tackles and recorded one interception in his 90-minute showing, having been particularly combative at the base of the midfield.
The former Etihad starlet is clearly something of a relentless midfield presence, having been praised for his hard-working nature by U21’s boss Michael Skubala earlier this season:
“He works hard, Darko works really hard. You can probably see in his performances that he’s working really hard.
“I think we have a really good, young, competitive midfield group at the moment within the 21s and you’ve seen Darko get good minutes in there. I think his performances are getting better and better and I thought against Forest he was really strong.
“When you look at the way we want to play, he’s learning that a little bit and he’s still on that learning curve. He needs to keep his head down, working hard, progressing and keep putting in good consistent performances.
“One thing with youth players is they can have really good performances and then not so good, but the challenging thing is consistency in performance for these types of players and Darko has shown some really good consistency within his performances.”
Also lauded as “very impressive” by Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt following the EFL Trophy meeting back in October, Gyabi is beginning to show signs of just why Victor Orta was so keen to sign him over the summer.
The aim is now for the England U19 international to truly establish himself at first-team level, with the absence of Adams seemingly offering the ideal chance for him to prove his worth in the senior ranks.
The player himself admitted that he is ready should such an opportunity arise, with the London-born gem stating earlier this month: “Football is weird. Anything can happen. You could be training and then maybe an injury or illness and you’re in it.”
It would no doubt be a bold call for Marsch to hand a league debut to the teen starlet against such ferocious opposition, although it could well prove something of a masterstroke.