'Pull in the reins' - Exclusive: Darren Bent claims Leeds players need to step in over teammate


Darren Bent admits that he loved seeing Eddie Nketiah’s confidence in wanting to take the penalty in Leeds United’s 2-0 win over Barnsley on Sunday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Tottenham and England striker says that he is a big fan of seeing youngsters who want to step up in high-pressure situations but that more senior players sometimes need to step in and keep him grounded.

Nketiah earned Leeds the spot-kick after being fouled in the box but despite his desire to convert the penalty, captain Liam Cooper handed the ball to Mateusz Klich, who scored to seal victory.

Bent insists that the confidence shown from Nketiah is a good thing but that Cooper was right to take charge and ensure a more experienced player took the responsibility, recollecting a moment from his own career where he had been in the Leeds youngster’s shoes.

Bent told Football Insider: “I love that, when these young players want to step up. Sometimes you need those experienced players to pull the reins in a little bit.

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“I had it before where I was a young player, Ipswich Town, I was 17, 18 at the time, really excited. We got a penalty and I said to Marcus Bent I want to take. He asked are you sure you want to take it and I was like yeah, yeah, yeah. I ended up putting it over the bar.

“You can get too excited as a young player, sometimes it’s good if the more senior players go: ‘Listen, slow down, I know you want to take this but your time is coming. Let one of the senior players take it.’ That’s good captaincy from Liam Cooper.” 

Nketiah came off the bench to open the scoring against the Tykes, converting Kalvin Phillips’ cross deep into the box from close range.

The Whites’ next outing sees them take on Derby County at Elland Road, the two sides set to reignite the rivalry of last season after the Rams defeated Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the play-off semi-finals.

In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider he thinks a “very good” midfielder is facing the axe against Derby.