If you follow Leeds United striker Ross McCormack on Twitter (@RossMcCormack44) you’ll already be aware that he is exposed to quite a bit of stick from the fans. I often see abuse directed at the Scot retweeted on my timeline; the majority being about his lack of goals this season. To give Ross his credit the majority of the time he takes the comments in jest and gives as good as he gets back – but I have to wonder if they don’t bother him on some level, and I also have to wonder if the fans behind the tweets know anything about football or Leeds United.
The 26 year old has been part of the Leeds team since 2010 and has always been a valued member of the squad from scoring spectacular goals to helping his team mates find the net. He’s never been greedy in front of goal and if passing the ball to someone else is more likely to create a chance then that’s what he’ll do.
This season hasn’t been the easiest for the forward, he found himself warming the bench at times under previous manager Neil Warnock and when he was given the chance to play he was never put into his favourite goal scoring role and instead spent his time in the midfield area, that along with injuries has meant that the straight talking striker has only made 32 appearances this season compared to his near perfect record of 45 previously. This explains why his goal tally is somewhat lacking this season, but I feel that Ross is a severely undervalued player and brings much more than just goals to the table.
If you watch McCormack play, and I mean really watch and focus on him you will see how influential he is on the pitch. First let’s talk about his passing; Ross is a real ball player, he looks so comfortable with the ball at his feet and it’s a job for other players to get it off him when he’s in his element, he makes some proper cutting edge passes into the danger zone and determines the tempo of the game with his passing techniques. He rarely makes a poor pass and he has great accuracy and spatial awareness which greatly helps the Leeds possession statistics.
This season he holds the second highest assist rate, helping his team mates to score 12 goals in the league alone. This goes back to my earlier comment about him making the right decisions, it takes a very intelligent footballer to know when to pass and who to pass to in order to create a goal, you’ll see so many players – even at a higher level – go for goal when they have no chance at scoring rather than pass to a team mate in a better position.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is his performance outside the league, he demonstrated in the League Cup and FA Cup that he can play well against Premier League opposition, putting in great performances against Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham – where he scored an absolute beauty. It’s not a secret that he might not be the fastest player, but he certainly has skill and he uses that along with his brain to his advantage.
This season might not have been the best for McCormack, and the blame for his lack of goals can most definitely be pinned on ex-manager Neil Warnock (or Tom Lees) but it has given us some positives to look forward to next season. He has paired up extremely well with Diouf; the two are like double trouble on that pitch and some of their passing and movement together is absolutely superb – not to mention exciting for next season. It is also clear by his statement after the Watford game that new manager Brian McDermott sees a lot of potential in him, he said; “I had a feeling Ross McCormack would make a difference today”.
Sadly the summer break is upon us and we have a three month wait until the league starts again, but as far as Ross McCormack goes, he has his sights set firmly on promotion and I’m sure if he’s put into his favourite striking position and manages to avoid getting knocked out (again) he will cause all kinds of problems for the opposition, and will probably have less Leeds fans chucking him abuse on Twitter as a result.