Of all the records at Leeds United currently, including new favourite Pontus Jansson, Eunan O’Kane has one of the most impressive records, all be it in the very very early stages. A player who didn’t catch the imagination originally but was as close as you could come to a “sure thing” in terms of consistency and ability. Since his arrival he’s started six games and Leeds have won five, the performances have improved and the good feeling is back at Leeds United.
We don’t know the fee for O’Kane but we do know the midfielder arrived to play first-team football after sitting on the bench the last year or so at Premier League Bournemouth. I didn’t hear a bad word said about the Irish international, who’s currently on duty with the national squad. O’Kane was described as reliable, clever and consistent, exactly what we needed. Alongside Liam Bridcutt we have quality and experience that can match any side in the division. Bridcutt was injured in O’Kane’s first start and the midfielder has been partnered by youngsters Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips so far. Phillips has looked brilliant alongside O’Kane and Vieira is already well on his way to becoming a big player at Leeds.
O’Kane takes the ball where others wouldn’t dare and does it with ease. Tight spots and exposed areas are places where others will give the ball to him and expect him to keep it. A player who doesn’t get the headlines and probably won’t. He isn’t a goal scorer and isn’t classed as a defensive midfielder. He’s the perfect player for Garry Monk. He’ll drop short, take the ball and move it between the lines and out wide where others can do the damage. His pass for Pablo Hernandez was top class against Barnsley and it shows why Monk was so keen to get him into the club. Along with Pontus Jansson he has helped the others around him come out and put in a very good month for the club.
We have four options in the middle at the moment, along with Matt Grimes who hasn’t really started yet at Leeds. Kalvin Phillips, Ronaldo Vieira, Liam Bridcutt and Eunan O’Kane all bring different things to the side. None are players who will score many in a season but in reality they are there to dominate the game and let the attacking players express themselves. When Bridcutt is fit he will almost certainly play and O’Kane will be the one to partner him on most occasions, the others coming in when the games are coming thick and fast and when the others are injured or suspended.
O’Kane’s impact at the club has been so positive yet so quiet and that’s something to be admired. He’s came to Leeds United because he wants to play football at the club and play football for Garry Monk. He believes in what Monk is doing and that’s been clear since the first time he touched the ball against Blackburn. Others will be looking at O’Kane and believing that if players like that are coming to the club that things will continue to get better. I for one am delighted that we signed the Irishman, and look forward to seeing what he can achieve in a Leeds United shirt in the coming years.