Leeds United’s U23 coach Mark Jackson has implored striker Max Dean to control his aggressive nature after Tuesday’s 4-1 EFL Trophy defeat to Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, while speaking to Leeds Live.
Like another Merseyside-born forward who began his career in the blue of Everton, 17-year-old Dean plays his football right on the line, treading the boundaries between commitment and combustibility.
The question is, can the wide-eyed Scouser strike the right balance?
Eventually, Wayne Rooney managed to do just that, curbing that penchant for self-implosion and channelling his bubbling aggression in the right way, while retaining the bullish belligerence that made him such a force of nature during his early years at Everton and Manchester United.
Dean could do a lot worse than use Rooney as an inspiration as he looks to force his way into Jackson’s U23 side on a regular basis in the coming months.
Max Dean must use Wayne Rooney as an example
“Deano’s a fiery character, I don’t like to quash that in him. He’s got an edge to him and how he plays – and I like that in his personality,” Jackson said after his youthful side suffered a bruising defeat to Tranmere in the Papa John’s Trophy group stages.
“Yes, he gets frustrated at times and we have to curtail it but his hunger to press and work hard and his hunger to score goals is really apparent.
“When he probably feels he doesn’t get those chances or have the balls he needs then he gets a little bit frustrated, but he knows he’s got to manage that.
“Overall, I was pleased with how he played, how he pressed and I’m not too worried about him getting frustrated.
“Listen, I like his character – I always have done since we signed him from Everton and I think it can only get better.”
You’d imagine that Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds’ enigmatic head coach, would take a liking to a terrier-like striker who is more than happy to spend 90 minutes hassle and chase down the opposition.
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