Player ratings v Manchester United TSS January 4, 2010 Leeds United 20 Comments You can imagine how hard I’m going to find it to be even slightly critical of anyone following that result, but having now watched the match again (best thing I’ve ever Sky+’d) without the tension and nerves at the times, I’ve come up with the following. Feel free to share your thoughts. Casper Ankergren – 8* This is a tough one because he was beaten. Aside from the moment where Jason Crowe came to his rescue he made some good saves. Was a few nervy moments from corners where he came to clear and missed, but clean sheet so no complaints. *Decided I agree with the consensus that I was a little hard on Casper and he deserves more than the original 7, so edited to 8. He did slow the shot down from Rooney enabling Crowe to clear and the shots he did save make his efforts worthy of a higher score. Jason Crowe – 8 From now on, this is how he should play every week. Was beaten once or twice. but hardly surprising giving who he had to compete with and always chased them down. Saved us from an equaliser with a goal-line clearence and worked tirelessly throughout. Best display he’s had in a Leeds shirt for me. Richard Naylor – 9 As a lifelong Leeds fan, Nayl’s will have needed no motivational talk for this game from Grayson. He put everything on the line, throwing whatever he had in front of whatever Manchester United could muster. Clean sheet at Old Trafford, not many teams get to say that and the partnership of him and Kis is key to that success. Absolutely hounded Rooney throughout. Patrick Kisnorbo – 9 Fearless, absolutely fearless. Solid as a rock and never sees anything as a lost cause. His work rate is incredible, his desire admirable and the difference he’s made to Leeds United in defence, unbelievable. Haven’t been able to fault him on much all season. Andrew Hughes – 7 Had the unenviable task of Welbeck followed by Valencia. Dealt pretty well with Welbeck, but when the youngster did break he was simply impossible to catch such is his terrifying pace. Valencia ran him ragged, but Hughes gave everything and played his part in the result. Jonny Howson – 10 I said in my match report that I felt Jonny had grown from the experience and I simply can’t praise him enough. Like Naylor, he’s homegrown and would have needed no motivation whatsoever. His pass for Beckford’s goal was simply sublime, his closing down was tireless and he never showed any fear or respect to the Premier League champions throughout. Hero in the making. Neil Kilkenny – 8.5 Got disposessed a few times, but then who didn’t? (and I mean on both teams) Always looked to move forward and create chances, never took his foot off the gas and was there with the tackles when needed. Another solid performance from Killa, making the competition for places in midfield a real battle. Michael Doyle – 8 What I like about Doyle is that he holds back giving Kilkenny, Johnson and even Howson at times room to push forward. Not afraid of the tackle and certainly showed no fear against any of the Man United players. Battled throughout and had a solid game. Bradley Johnson – 8 Made Gary Neville look like a pub team player – which, let’s face it, he should be. Probably quite frustrated with the end product at times, but he played a big part in why we were so strong going forward. Good game from Bradley and great to have him back. Jermaine Beckford – 10 The enigma that is Jermaine Beckford. What can you say about him, he’s answered all his critics in the last few weeks. Weak in the air – scores with a header. Underperforming – scores five in three games. Disappears in big games – runs Manchester United ragged. Could quite easily have been MOTM as he just made a mockery of Wes Brown all day. If that was his last game for Leeds United, it’s not a bad way to end an impressive run at the club and he’ll leave a hero in my eyes. Luciano Becchio – 8.5 Strong, hard-working, tough tackling and troublesome for Manchester United throughout. Seemed to play closer to midfield than he did striker, but his contribution was nonetheless vital and helped us win the battle in the centre of the park. Never going to be an out and out striker, but his contribution is invaluable to the team. The subs Simon Grayson left two of his subs ’til the very end (probably to time waste) so no point rating Michalik or White, but Snoddy came in and made an immediate impact hitting the bar with a beautifully struck free-kick. From there on in, he got stuck in and helped us to secure victory.