When a player is injured, especially a long injury layoff, the recuperation process is long and arduous. It’s first healing, then building up the training before moving onto piecemeal minutes here and there in games to get some semblance of match fitness. That’s what has been happening to Leeds United’s Italian Tommaso Bianchi.
Bianchi was injured initially during a 2-0 win at Reading on February 14 this year. Initially it was feared that he’d suffered cruciate ligament damage in his knee, something that was later said to be not as bad as first thought. Still, Bianchi needed an operation on his knee and was out for the rest of the 2015 Championship season. Knee fixed, Bianchi returned to action with Leeds United and featured heavily in the pre-season games undertaken by Leeds. It was in one of these, against German Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, that Bianchi again injured his knee. At the time, the cartilage problem caused by the injury required surgery that meant another six-or-so weeks on the sidelines for the former Italian youth international. Then head coach Uwe Rosler said, “It’s a pity because I felt Tommaso was one of the players who really came on. He did every training session but then against Frankfurt he got an impact injury.”
After that setback, Bianchi’s recovery has been undertaken through rehailitation and training, augmented with match pratice with numerous appearances in Paul Hart’s Under-21 Academy side where he has impressed with a string of solid performances. Thwew ‘eye-catching’ performances seem to have also been party to Steve Evans’ eyes as the head coach also spoke about Bianchi is recent press conference. As reported by Inside Futbol, Evans is also beginning to be taken by the was that Bianchi is performing for the Under-21s. At a recent press conference, Evans said, “It was good to see Tommy. I thought Tommy was very good in the Under21s. In the first couple of games he was a little bit off it, but believe me when you’re out 10 weeks, never mind 10 months, it takes a lot of getting back.”
Last season, before the initial injury struck, Bianchi was showing some very encouraging signs that he could develop into a player who might be of benefit to Leeds United. Ostensibly playing as a defensive midfielder, in the similar ‘number 6’ role as current loanee Liam Bridcutt, Tommaso Bianchi produced some more than decent statistical returns per typical 90 minutes of game time.
Tommaso Bianchi – per 90 minute returns: 2014/15 Championship season
Defensive: 3.8 tackles from 5.1 attempts (74.5% success), 2.2 interceptions, 1.9 clearances of opposition ball, 2.5 defensive blocks. Total of 10.4 defensive actions per game.
Passing: 54.9 passing attempts/45.9 completed passes (83.6% accuracy), 42.3 completed short passes (92.2% of completed passes are ‘short’ passes.
With Leeds United currently facing quite a congested series of games over the festive period and leading into 2016, three games in a seven day period, then having a fit-again Tommaso Bianchi might be seen as something of a positive.