Phil Hay discusses starting XI future of Leeds "Terminator"

Leeds utility player Stuart Dallas

Phil Hay has claimed that two factors could determine whether Stuart Dallas retains his place in Leeds' starting line-up next season.

What did Hay say?

The Leeds journalist was asked in his latest Leeds mailbag on The Athletic whether the Northern Ireland midfielder would still be in Marcelo Bielsa's starting XI in 2021/22.

He responded by saying: "That probably depends on two things — whether Klich can rediscover his mojo and which midfielders arrive in the transfer window. But in this form, it would be very difficult to drop him. From right winger through right-back and left-back, he’s actually starting to look like a quality centre-mid."

How has Dallas fared at Leeds this season?

Dallas has shown incredible versatility this term. Having started out the campaign at left-back, he has also featured at right-back, the right-hand side of midfield, as an attacking midfielder and in central midfield.

Very much the unsung hero of the side, he has started all 30 of Leeds' Premier League games, and only been substituted once. In these matches, he has delivered seven goal contributions.

Hay is clearly a huge fan of the 29-year-old, and revealed that he viewed Dallas as Leeds' Player of the Year.

Writing in his mailbag, he added: "I went for Dallas as player of the year last season as well. I’ve almost run out of things to say about him. He’s like the T-1000 from Terminator. Tell him to be a goalkeeper and he turns himself into one (without indiscriminately killing people at the same time)."

What's gone wrong for Klich?

Hay mentions a return to form for Mateusz Klich could see Dallas lose his place next year. The Polish midfielder has certainly had a tough time proving his worth in recent months.

He started the campaign strongly, registering seven goal involvements in his opening 16 Premier League appearances. Back in November, Marcelo Bielsa stated that Klich was capable of playing for any side in the world.

However, the 30-year-old's output has dipped dramatically in 2021. He has not directly contributed to a goal in 2021, meaning that he is no longer a guaranteed starter for the team.

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Who is this former Leeds player?

Should Dallas' place even be up for discussion?

Leeds should appreciate what they already have at the club.

There is always the temptation to see what options are out there in the transfer market, but they will struggle to find someone as valuable as Dallas.

In his first season in England's top division, Dallas has played in multiple positions across the backline and in midfield, and has remained a consistent performer. It is hard to think of another player who could have flourished in so many different areas of the pitch in their debut campaign in the Premier League.

No Leeds player has played more minutes than him this season, providing further evidence that Bielsa trusts him implicitly. 

There is no reason that the Argentine coach should even consider dropping Dallas at this stage.

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