Every side has an unsung hero. For Leeds United, that player is Stuart Dallas.
Meanwhile, Brazilian winger Raphinha has been a revelation, delivering 10 goal contributions for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, six of which have come since the turn of the year.
The pair’s exploits often sees the rest of the side struggle to gain the recognition they deserve. However, it is clear that Dallas has been vital to Leeds’ success this term.
Playing in a variety of roles, the 29-year-old has used his versatility to good effect, and been directly involved in seven goals. He has featured in almost every position for the team, epitomising Bielsa’s philosophy of allowing his players to express themselves all over the pitch.
Despite being jostled around the starting XI, Dallas ranks joint-fifth within the Leeds squad in terms of shots taken, fourth for dribbles, third with regards to interceptions, and is only behind Luke Ayling in the ‘successful tackles‘ category, showing that he is a well-rounded performer.
Arguably, his finest performances have come in central midfield, as he has developed a fine understanding with Kalvin Phillips.
Former Leeds forward Jermaine Beckford has been particularly impressed by Dallas. He highlighted the Northern Irishman’s crucial role in the Leeds midfield back in December.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Beckford said: “He is the linchpin of that side, if you like, the glue that holds everything together. If Leeds lost him through injury then it would have a huge impact on that team, particularly because of what he offers.
“Dallas and Kalvin Phillips play such vital roles. When either of them is not in the team you can see the balance isn’t quite there.
“That particularly goes for Dallas, who ensures that balance and gives freedom to creative players to do what they do best.”
Fortunately for Leeds, Dallas has not missed a league game this season, and has always been on hand to drive the side forwards.
Thanks to Dallas’ tireless work rate, Leeds have shone on their return to England’s top division, and are the highest scorers in the bottom half of the table. Remarkably, Transfermarkt still only value Dallas at £2.9m, despite his efforts in 2020/21.
He remains underrated, but there is surely no danger of him being overlooked.