Noel Whelan: I am surprised Leeds 26-year-old is not playing more, urges Monk to start him
By Amir Mir
Noel Whelan has admitted that he has been surprised that Garry Monk has not selected midfielder Eunan O’Kane more often this season.
The-26-year-old has been on the substitutes bench for the last two matches as he has watched his side suffer back-to-back defeats against Reading and Brentford respectively.
During those games, Monk has opted to play either Liam Bridcutt, Ronaldo Vieira or Kalvin Phillips in the middle of the park.
The last time O’Kane was given a start in the deep-lying playmaker role was during the 3-1 win at Birmingham City in early March.
After recent poor results and performances from Monk’s side, Whelan was asked if he was surprised that O’Kane has not been used as often as he urged Monk to start him.
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“It is. Garry Monk has got such a vast array of midfield talent there to choose from,” Whelan told BBC Radio Leeds.
“O’Kane is always one of these players that I have always quite liked when he has come in. O’Kane is very casual on the ball. He never really gives it away, he takes the ball in tight areas, and he chooses the right pass nine times out of ten.
“He’s got the experience, so I wonder now after back-to-back defeats, is it time to bring him back in.”
O’Kane moved to Elland Road from Premier League outfit Bournemouth in the summer where he signed a two-year deal.
Over the course of the season, O’Kane has played 22 Championship matches for Monk’s side where he has provided two assists.
The Republic of Ireland international has been on the winning side on 14 occasions during those games as he could be in contention to start against Preston at the weekend.
Former Whites boss Simon Grayson will bring his promotion-chasing team to Elland Road where they will be looking to cause an upset.
The last time the duo met was during the reverse fixture in December with Monk’s side winning the encounter 4-1 away from home.
In other Leeds news, Simon Grayson makes this huge claim about his time at the club.