Under Garry Monk he was largely used as a bit player, gaining just 1,760 minutes of time on the pitch at an average game time of 73 minutes per appearance. How times have changed.
Now Irishman Eunan O’Kane is a vital cog in the Leeds United machine that has march to the top of the Sky Bet Championship in such impressive style. Truth is, as many Leeds United fans will gladly tell you, O’Kane has always been a rough stone but now new head coach Thomas Christiansen is shining him with a lapidary’s skill and the Whites have something of a polished gem now.
O’Kane joined the Whites from Premier League Bournemouth, on the last day of last season’s summer transfer window for a fee of around £500,000. Last season, the seven-cap Ireland international made 24 Sky Bet Championship appearances, this season under Christiansen he is an ever-present and is showing his worth.
Whilst yet to bother the scoring tables at Elland Road, O’Kane does have a team-leading three assists to his name, but his game is more than that – much more than that.
Eunan O’Kane – a gem in the polishing and ready to set
What the stats do bear out is the good start that he has made over his seven appearances this season so far. Key points that should be illustrated are his high number of ‘assists’ (0.5) expected in a typical 90 minute game spell, as well as the number of ‘key passes’ (1.4) that lead to chances for others through shots at goal.
He also commits a low number of ‘fouls’ (0.9) over the course of a typical 90 minute game, whilst still remaining strong with the number of ‘tackles’ (2.9) that he completes when Leeds’ possession is taken into account.
Eunan O’Kane is also as good a distributor of the ball as he is a stopper of opposition ball. Over the course of the season thus far, the Derry-born midfielder has completed a high percentage (81.3%) of his attempted passes and this also trickles down to the high number of accurate long balls (3.5) he completes on a per 90 basis from those (7.9) that he attempts. This means 44% of his passes over 25 yards find their man.