By Alex Stevens
Eunan O’Kane returned to the Leeds starting XI for their 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night – and fans took to Twitter to hail his display.
The Republic of Ireland international was recalled to the side to partner skipper Liam Bridcutt in central midfield as Ronaldo Vieira dropped to the bench.
It was O’Kane’s first appearance in the starting XI since late November and he played 75 minutes before being replaced by the teenage sensation.
The combination of ex-Premier League pair O’Kane, 26, and Bridcutt, 28, helped Leeds to control the game, which they eventually won through strikes from Chris Wood and Souleymane Doukara.
Supporters were mostly impressed by former Bournemouth man O’Kane’s performance, although one criticised him for being too “ponderous”.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
Great to have Eunan o Kane back in the starting line up. Been a cracking signing #LUFC
— Garreth Porter (@PorterG94) January 25, 2017
What’s this suddenly about people saying O’Kane is poor? He was one of our most consistently good performers before his injury. #lufc
— Max (@Max_LUFC) January 25, 2017
Might of gone a bit unnoticed but O’Kane was immense tonight. Plugging gaps all over the shop
— Alex Bruce (@Brucey_93) January 25, 2017
Vieira’ been on about 10 minutes and I cannot for the life of me, understand people’s preference for the ponderous O’Kane.
— Adam J (@Ken_DeMange) January 25, 2017
@PhilHayYEP Bridcutt and O’Kane too similar. It’s like playing Batty and Dacourt together. You can’t play with 2 sitters in centre mid IMO.
— James Hollingworth (@JimmyHol84) January 25, 2017
O’Kane, who is considered to be Bridcutt’s first choice partner in central midfield when everyone is fit and available, made his 13th league start of the season on Wednesday out of 16 appearances in all competitions.
He has recently returned to full fitness after missing nearly two months with a groin injury sustained in the League Cup defeat to boyhood club Liverpool.
Due to the form of youthful duo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips, O’Kane has had to fight his way back into the side and was an unused substitute against Cambridge and Derby before getting some action as a late substitute in last weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Barnsley.
In other Leeds news, there has been a finale in a major deal after a £7million bid was tabled.