By Alex Stevens
Garry Monk described Marco Silvestri as “one of the best shots-stoppers I’ve seen” after the goalkeeper’s penalty heroics secured Leeds a place in the League Cup quarter-finals.
Monk made the huge claim about the goalkeeper even though he was almost sold in the summer and has lost his starting spot to new No1 Rob Green.
Monk paid tribute to his entire squad after they survived extra-time with 10 men to beat Norwich on penalties on Tuesday night but he reserved additional praise for Silvestri.
The 25-year-old Italian made three fine stops from Alex Pritchard, Steven Naismith and Robbie Brady, allowing 18-year-old Ronaldo Vieira to settle the fourth-round tie with a decisive spot-kick.
Silvestri, who appeared to be on his way out of Leeds after he was sent home from the club’s pre-season training camp in Ireland in July, was making only his third appearance of the season but rose to the occasion by denying Norwich repeatedly.
“I don’t watch penalties so I didn’t watch those but I got told he made three very good saves,” Monk said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Marco’s one of the best shot-stoppers I’ve seen to be honest. He’s fantastic. But it’s unfair to single out anyone. They all played their part.”
The eight changes made by Monk ultimately paid off as Leeds recovered from a poor first half to dominate Norwich and secure a deserved place in the last eight.
The shootout victory for Leeds builds on the progress they have made in the Championship, where they are place in 10th and are now just three points adrift of the play-off positions.
Monk’s team host Burton in the league on Saturday as they aim to build on their run of fine results.
In other Leeds team news, their midfielder has revealed that he held talks with Monk.