New Leeds United signing dubbed 'the glue' to Daniel Farke's problematic left-hand side

Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday.
United's Glen Kamara.
2nd September 2023
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United v Sheffield Wednesday. United's Glen Kamara. 2nd September 2023 Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Daniel Farke hinted towards Kamara’s versatility prior to the 27-year-old’s debut against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, in which he was a late substitute as the Whites drew 0-0 at Elland Road.

Kamara had been a summer-long target, Leeds eventually sealing his signing in the final days leading up to the transfer deadline on September 1, and supplements Farke’s options in the middle of the park, easing the burden on Ampadu and Gray who have started each of Leeds’ seven fixtures across all competitions this season.

Kamara’s three-minute, plus stoppage time, cameo on Saturday afternoon was hardly long enough to determine his use to this Leeds side, therefore accounts of his four-year spell with Rangers remain particularly helpful.

Adam Thornton’s book ‘Gerrard’s Blueprint: The Tactical Philosophy Behind Rangers 55th Title Triumph’ provides an in-depth analysis of Rangers' tactics under Steven Gerrard, for whom Kamara became a key player.

Thornton writes: “Kamara played as the left-sided central midfielder nominally, but the Finnish international was really capable of playing anywhere in midfield and adapting seamlessly to any situation or tactical role.

"Where Kamara excelled was in providing the platform for the rest of the team to attack. He was the tactical chameleon of the group; with such a wide and varied skillset, Kamara was theoretically capable of playing in at least seven of Rangers' ten outfield positions. He acted as the glue that bound the left side of Rangers' tactical structure together alongside Borna Barisic and Ryan Kent.

Currently, Leeds’ left-hand side is one of the few remaining unanswered questions in Farke’s setup. Will Sam Byram retain his place at left-back upon return from injury, or can Junior Firpo rewrite his Elland Road chapter by staying fit and locking down that side of the pitch? Could Jamie Shackleton even provide the solution to a long-term problem area?

While Kamara is highly unlikely to play left-back, should he operate on the left-hand side of Farke’s midfield pairing, there is at least some evidence to suggest he could provide the platform for a more attacking full-back to bomb on, utilising his positional awareness to fill in.

"Should Barisic lose possession and be caught upfield, Kamara was the one to shuttle wide and look to prevent counter-attacks. If an opposition team decided to overload Rangers' left flank, there he was to provide support to his man and regain possession of the ball,” Thornton writes.

"Throughout the three years, Barisic developed an almost telepathic relationship with Kamara and Kent on the left.

"While crossing is Barisic's key strength, how the team used this also varied depending on the scenario. All three of these players worked well in tandem when looking to manipulate space in the final third, particularly focusing on creating overloads to release Barisic in an advanced area to deliver a ball into the box.”

Kamara will compete for minutes alongside the existing midfield options and turning 28 years-old in October, represents one of the club’s more senior first-team players; experience being something the squad could certainly benefit from.

For that reason, he is likely to play a prominent role in Leeds’ push for promotion this year and beyond, having signed a contract until 2027.