Steve Evans minced no words, nor did he take no prisoners with his appraisal of Jordan Botaka after Leeds were beaten 1-0 by Premier League Watford in the FA Cup 5th Round earlier this season.
Botaka, a DR Congo full international, had been absent from the Leeds United squad since Evans’ arrival at Elland Road in October, with Leeds fans wondering what the tricky winger had to do to get into the side.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Hay post-match that day, Evans was brutally up front with his appraisal of Jordan Botaka and why he played that day.
Evans pulling no punches on Botaka: "He was very fortunate to be on the pitch. He was in the squad because I didn't have any other options"
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 20, 2016
Botaka had sunk below a ‘sympathy pick’ with the broadside that Evans fired across his bows, he’d dropped a few levels down below this. Botaka now became a ‘necessity pick’, there merely to make up the numbers should the Whites need to dip into the squad bag for a player.
The fan backlash was pretty sturdy to say the least; a fanbase that wanted to see the exciting, supposedly unpredictable winger in action on the pitch. They were denied. Steve Evans had Botaka turning out for the Under-21 Development Squad – essentially Leeds’ reserves.
Fast-forward to mid-March and Evans has changed his mind somewhat, mellowed in his opinion of FIFA16 5-Star Skill player Botaka. In the Yorkshire Evening Post, Steve Evans said: “We’ve looked at Jordan, who I was critical of before, and he’s suddenly producing performances on the training ground. They’re making me say ‘we have a player here’.” Evans said that Botaka’s time would come.
That time was tonight in the 75th minute against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Taking off Lee Erwin, Steve Evans brought on Jordan Botaka, the man Leeds fans has been clamouring to see for a long time. He didn’t disappoint.
Unlucky not to score, Botaka’s overall efforts in his cameo saw a warming, positive response from Leeds United fans.
Leeds fan reaction to Jordan Botaka appearance vs Wolves
This Leeds fans agrees wit hSteve Evans – we might have a player in Botaka.
Botaka is a raw talent, but I think (with the right coaching) he could become a very good player.
— Wardy (@_wardylufc) April 19, 2016
This Leeds United fan has the definitive answer to the Botaka problem and disappearance.
Evans comes, really fat.
Botaka goes missing.
Evans gets thinner.
Evans ate Botaka then digested him. Of course! #lufc
— Batesy – TTGM (@BatesyLufc) April 19, 2016
Whites fan Jake has definitely seen the improvement in Jordan Botaka.
Botaka was left out for ages before because of bad defensive workrate but closed down loads tonight and put in a shift
— Jake (@JakeLUFC_) April 19, 2016
Actually, I think that this Leeds fan is asking a bit too much, maybe just a little bit too much.
all i want is to see berardi launch it up, dave to head it on and the botaka to scorpion kick it in from 30 yards. am not asking for much
— sweden_fan (@EllandRead) April 19, 2016
Jordan Botaka certainly made a very good impression on Whites fan Katie.
— Katie Wadsworth (@ktjwads) April 19, 2016