By Alex Stevens
Steve Evans has described Charlie Taylor’s second-half display in Leeds’ defeat to Charlton last weekend as the best left-sided performance he has ever seen at Elland Road.
The manager made the bold claim as he assessed the growing significance of the newly-appointed Leeds’ player of the year.
Taylor, who suffered with glandular fever earlier in the campaign, has established himself one of the Championship’s premier left-backs alongside the likes of Middlesbrough’s George Friend and Hull’s Andrew Robertson.
Evans believes that there is plenty more to come from the left-sided player, with the Scot full of praise for his performance in last Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Charlton.
“He is a top player and a top lad and he’s getting better,” Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “It took him a little while to come back from what was an eight or nine-week illness and it really floored the boy.
“But after about three or four days training, he went straight back into the team and he’s been outstanding.
“He’s an outstanding talent that this football club is blessed to have and we are blessed to work with him.
“The second half against Charlton on Saturday, Charlie played in such a way in that it was probably the best left-sided performance I have seen at Elland Road.
“I have not seen lots of games when I have not been head coach, but that’s as good as it can get.”
However, there are growing fears about Taylor’s long-term future at the club, as the 22-year-old is entering the final year of his Leeds contract and supporters fear another Sam Byram situation.
The former Leeds right-back had just six months remaining on his deal when he joined West Ham for £3.75million in the January transfer window.
Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds this week, Taylor insisted he would like to remain at Leeds this summer and push for promotion next season.
“Obviously I’d like to stay at Leeds and I want us to have a real good push and challenge for promotion next year,” he said. “I think with a couple more signings, a few more things done behind the scenes, there’s no reason why that’s not too much to ask for.”
Taylor, who has been linked with a move to Crystal Palace, is regarded as one of Leeds’ emerging stars along with Lewis Cook, 19, and Alex Mowatt, 21.
“Hopefully I’ll still be here and Cooky and Mowatt,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “I just leave it down to my agent and the club really and like you say hopefully it can get sorted out.”
Cook is about to enter the final year of his deal while another Leeds youngster, 19-year-old goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, is out of contract in the summer.
In other Leeds news, manager Steve Evans has said the club can gain promotion next season on three conditions.