By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan has described a crunching first-half tackle from Gaetano Berardi in Leeds’ clash against Nottingham Forest as “like something from a war film”.
The BBC radio pundit and former Leeds striker was blown away by the intensity of one Berardi challenge shortly before half-time of the Championship showdown.
The defender, who started at left-back for the seventh consecutive match in place of the injured Charlie Taylor, provided one vivid demonstration of the no-holds-barred playing style that is well known to Elland Road regulars.
It caught the attention of Whelan, who has been impressed by how the Switzerland international has adapted to his new role over the last month.
“Berardi is relishing his opportunity at left back – you can have the best of both worlds when you’re playing that wing back role, and he doesn’t look uncomfortable going forward now,” said Whelan, as quoted by the BBC Leeds live blog of the match.
“If the space is there, he drives into it, and that is what you want. He’s literally just clattered his man in a totally legal challenge – it was like something from the a war film, from the trenches. He was just driving through.”
Berardi joined Leeds in the summer of 2014 from Sampdoria and has spent most of his time at the Yorkshire club at right-back.
Luke Ayling has taken a strong hold of that position since arriving from Bristol City last August but Berardi remains a key member of manager Garry Monk’s squad.
The 28-year-old missed three months of the season with a hamstring injury but has taken advantage of Taylor’s achilles problem to force his way in to the team.
The clash against Forest, which was 0-0 at the end of a captivating opening period, was his 12th appearance of the season.
In other Leeds news, there has been a finale in a major deal after a £7million bid was tabled.