Underrated? #1

Luciano Becchio

Article by thedamnedunited

Big Luciano Becchio, Leeds United’s number 10. He’s never been one for really grabbing the headlines during his time at Leeds. Instead that honour has been left to the likes of Jermaine Beckford in the dark days of *cough*, League One, and more recently Ross McCormack. And that’s it as far as some people are concerned; if you’re a striker that doesn't score goals, then why should you be in the team?

His goal tally for Leeds currently stands at a rather modest 64 goals in 168 appearances, averaging a goal just under every three games. But his goal scoring isn't his main attribute (thank the lord). In all but one season here at the whites he has had a strike partner upfront with him, because let’s face it, he’s no Usain Bolt, is he? But what he lacks in pace and agility he gives back with his relentless chasing and closing down. Fans always love a player that hunts the ball down, which is probably why he and the equally robust Rodolph Austin are firm fans’ favourites at Elland Road.

Yet that’s what number 10s are meant to do, chase the ball down and hold it up ready for support from their number 9 (or 44 in our case). Last season Becchio scored a respectable 11 goals in the Championship, yet it was his lowest total since he joined the club. Whereas his strike partner Ross McCormack netted 19 times, leading to him being crowned our top scorer. Fair play, 30 goals in the Championship from two players who the season before had about as much chemistry as Andy Gray and female linesmen in not bad going. And so far this term he’s left McCormack for dead in the goal- scoring charts, scoring 4 in 4 including vital goals against Wolves and Peterborough.

You could argue he compares to Grant Holt in many ways, or at least the Becchio of 2010/11 would have! With Holt playing the supporting-striker role for Norwich in front of a very familiar looking midfield, including Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson and now Robert Snodgrass, it’s easy to see why! The only difference is one plays for Norwich City, and the other plays for their “reserves”, or so we were branded this week. They’re both big, strong target men who go after the ball, win headers left, right and centre and score the odd goal when any opportunity arises.

But if Becchio keeps turning in man of the match performances as he has done throughout his Leeds career, how long will it be before we hear those familiar yet fatal words of “Norwich have had a bid accepted for Leeds’…