Brian Deane: "It's Going To Be A Fascinating Game"

Brian Deane: \

Leeds United icon previews tonight's clash against Boro

Ahead of Monday’s trip to Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship, Leeds United icon Brian Deane spoke exclusively with the club to discuss his former teams facing off against each other and more.

Deane signed for the Whites from Sheffield United for a then club record fee of £2.9million. The former England international played over 200 games and scored 45 goals in two spells and also featured in the UEFA Cup and League Cup final during his Leeds days.

Middlesbrough secured his signature in 1998 and remained with the club until 2001. He made 95 appearances and netted 19 times for the Boro.

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Brian, your two former clubs face off against each other on Monday, what have you made of Leeds this season?

“I think it's been a resounding success. Daniel Farke has come in and he's steadied the ship. I would say Leeds isn’t an easy club to be in charge of. I think after what I've seen in recent seasons, I wanted somebody a little bit more down to earth, in terms of the messages coming out. To be honest, the manager has done that. He's the kind of manager who talks straight from what I've seen and it just seems the players have responded to that.

“They're attacking with a lot of speed, which is something I've always said, that if you're going to do anything, you need to attack teams with pace and it's been good to watch. Younger players have been brought through too so I think it's been a resounding success since he’s been there.”

Do you still get to many Leeds games or watch on TV?

“I’d love to get to more, I went to the Stoke game [1-0 win] and I saw some of the old guys who I know quite well so that was nice. 

“I’m in a different kind of phase at the moment with family and and all that. So, it's quite difficult to get down but I’m always listening and watching out for all my old teams.”

You joined Leeds in 1993 from Sheffield Utd for a record fee of £2.9million - tell us a bit about your first spell with the club.

“It was obviously great to come back to my hometown club and I think one of the things that stuck out with me was that the style of football was slightly different in, it was more possession based. So, I found myself with my back to goal a lot, which wasn't my game at the time, I was somebody who liked to run.

“I struggled a little bit at first, but I think I came into my own in the second year. I got Player of the Year, we qualified for Europe, I scored one of my favourite goals of all time in the last game of the season against Tottenham. The team spirit then was just on a different level, it was a brilliant place to be.”

“We got to the cup final the following season, I was a little bit disappointed because the week before we’d played Everton and I scored two goals but found myself dropped for the final. Mixed feelings about that, but that’s life.

“George Graham arrived in my last year and I’d got a serious injury which put me out for around 10-12 weeks but in the end, it turned out to be quite a good season. It was interesting playing under George Graham. He gave a lot of responsibility to the players and it was something that I kind of took with me, because he kind of empowered you to make decisions, or to have ownership. It made you feel as though you had to do your job properly, otherwise you were letting everybody down, which I think is really good.”

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How does the Leeds team you played in compare to Daniel Farke’s?

“The team in my first spell was a different level, we were looking to get into the top four, we qualified for the UEFA Cup, we could mix it with anybody. 

“However, when I came back for my second spell and we were in the Championship, I think that there is no question that this team would have beaten us, they would have probably run all over us.”

What have you made of Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough side?

“Michael’s a former teammate of mine at West Ham, I know him quite well and I know how studious he is. I’m always pleased to see guys like him get an opportunity.

“The football is decent but they’ve been a bit inconsistent, they’ve had ups and downs. I think sometimes, you can't always go and say, ‘right, we're going to hand it to a steady pair of hands,’ I think Steve Gibson has done well to give Michael a go with all his experience and I don't think it's turned out too badly. 

“It’s going to be an interesting game for me, it’s funny, because every time I see one of my old teams lined up against Leeds, I wonder how I feel about it to be honest. 

“I want Leeds to go up without any issues, but it’s never that simple. So, it’s going to be a fascinating game and the crowd have got a massive role to play in getting behind the players.”

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What is Brian Deane up to these days?

“I’ve got a loose schedule, I suppose. I’m on a different journey to a lot of people, I’ve just done a session for corporate business today talking about leadership, confidence and bravery. 

“It’s football centric, I’ll talk about things based on how I overcame situations which is quite relevant for what's going on in the workplace as well. I keep telling people that in football you have to get a result every 4 or 7 days. And in the workplace, you talk about quarterly results, which is totally different so football is a much higher pressurised industry and I think businesses sometimes take a lot out of trying to understand the mentality of elite performing people because it helps them to kind of make their business more efficient and effective.

“I also do some work abroad which is less football related but I’m trying to adapt what I’m doing so that my priorities lie in the house. 

“A lot of reflection too, we’re living in a different era now and I’m always trying to develop myself. I’ve been seeing things in a different perspective now and seeing how hard fans work in order to watch their team play every week. A little bit more philosophical, perhaps, than you would normally hear about with football but that’s just how I am.”

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