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Talking Tactics

McKennie can form a perfect pairing with Adams

Adrian Clarke 1 Feb 2023

Adrian Clarke says Leeds' new midfielder can link up brilliantly with his fellow American

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 22.

Weston McKennie (LEE)

McKennie should be perfectly suited to Leeds United’s style of play under Jesse Marsch thanks to his dynamic and energetic nature.

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The 24-year-old is on loan from Juventus until the end of the season and is likely to form a partnership with fellow US international Tyler Adams in central midfield.

Although McKennie played in a narrow role off the right against England at the FIFA World Cup 2022, both he and Adams were extremely impressive in the goalless draw.

They disrupted attacks, played with great quality and made life uncomfortable for England.

McKennie will also offer Marsch plenty of versatility, having played as a central defender, full-back, a No 10 and out wide.

Aerial threat

McKennie isn't a prolific goalscorer, but he will make runs into the penalty area to get on the end of crosses.

He scored nine Serie A goals in 46 starts for Juventus, mostly with his head.

Standing at 6ft 1in, McKennie offers Leeds an additional threat in the air.

Marsch’s side have not had a lot of success from crosses in open play this season, with only two sides having fewer headed shots on target than Leeds.

Least headed shots/ open-play crosses*
Headed shots on target Succ. Open-play crosses
Leicester 7 Crystal Palace 25
Nott'm Forest 8 Leeds 34
Leeds 10 Nott'm Forest 38

*ahead of Matchweek 22

McKennie’s presence will bolster their attacking options from midfield.

Adams is yet to score and just three goals have come from central midfield so far, via Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson and Sam Greenwood.

In 2021/22, McKennie’s finishing was efficient for Juventus. His goals-per-shots-on-target ratio was 0.6, one of the best returns in the division.

Best shooting in Serie A 21/22
Player Goals/shots on target
Mario Pasalic 0.65
Federico Di Francesco 0.63
Weston McKennie 0.60
Marten de Roon 0.60
Roger Ibanez 0.60

McKennie is not the type of midfielder who will make 50 or more passes per match with an accuracy in excess of 90 per cent.

He is more of an all-action type player, who is technically strong enough to perform at Premier League level.

Alongside Adams, he will be quick to pressure opponents, fly into tackles and pick up second balls, as well as join in attacks.

McKennie has all the attributes to be a huge hit at Leeds.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Ouattara can add creative flair to Cherries
Part 2: Why Guardiola is reshaping his defence without Cancelo
Part 3: How Fernandez will unlock Chelsea's attacking potential
Part 4: How Dyche's direct approach can guide Everton to safety

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