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Izzy Brown opens up on 'the toughest year of my life' at Leeds

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The Chelsea loanee endured a nightmare season at Elland Road, scarcely featuring under Marcelo Bielsa following a debilitating knee injury
Izzy Brown has opened up on his struggles with Leeds United last season, a campaign in which he barely played 10 Championship minutes and describes as the toughest year of his life.

Brown signed for Leeds from Chelsea on the back of an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury suffered while on loan at Brighton but could not force his way into Marcelo Bielsa's line-up after regaining full fitness.

He admits he doubted his own ability to recover from the ACL tear while at Elland Road, but is now on the right track after securing a move to Luton Town for this Championship season.

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"When you’re injured you do really doubt yourself," he tells Goal. "You think: 'Will I get back to being as good or better than I was before?’"

"It kept playing on my mind because people say you lose 10 per cent once you do your ACL and you lose your speed and awareness and I was thinking: ‘No, I do not want that to happen to me’.

"When I was at Leeds I thought I might have lost it because I wasn’t playing and I thought that I should be playing. This season I am starting to gain confidence, getting assists and playing well and that’s what I want to do. I need to add goals to my game but other than that the confidence is back."

Bielsa's side are on the promotion trail again this season and will be welcomed by Luton to Kenilworth Road on Saturday, with Brown getting his career back on track after enduring a torrid time last term.

"Last season was difficult for me at Leeds," he says. "I came back from an ACL injury and that was probably the toughest year of my life. When I came back, I had it in my mind that I just wanted to play football again because I missed it so much.

"Going to Leeds I thought it would be a great decision. I feel like I learnt a lot but the main reason I went there was to play and that didn’t really happen there. I’ve got a lot of respect for the club and the medical staff because they got me where I am now but I think this season I needed to play football 100%, that’s all I was focused on.

"When Luton came up I thought that’s the perfect fit for me because I felt I needed just to get a run of games which I haven’t had for a few years. The other day I started three games in one week for the first time in two years.

"I feel like I have come on so much since I have been here and I have been getting fitter every game. I had a little set-back last week but that has all cleared up now and I am ready to go again."


Brown has already featured 12 times this season for Luton under Graeme Jones, who worked with Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry in the Belgium set-up. He has delivered five Championship assists so far, showing the kind of form which eluded him under Bielsa.

And yet despite the frustrations of his lost year, Brown has no regrets over his time in Yorkshire under one of the best-regarded managers in the game.

"He is a great manager," Brown says of the Argentine. "Very different and some players warm to that and some players don’t. If you don’t warm to it you can feel it because if you aren’t giving 100% on the training pitch, you won’t play.

"If you are over your weight target, you won’t play. It’s very precise with numbers but all of the staff know what he wants. And even if the staff don’t give him what he wants, he will tell them. He’s not afraid to tell people off. He’s a good man, though.

"[I learned] so much. He has a completely different method to what every other coach has. He sees football completely different. It was a great experience for me to actually work under him because he is respected throughout the world for being one of the best managers.

"His training is tough. I wouldn’t say it is boring but it is very repetitive and you do the same things every day. The same drills. You watch the clips in the games and you say ‘that’s exactly what we did in training’ and they just do it on the pitch. He puts it into your brain and the players do it for him. You can see it get results."

"It will be tough to match against them because of how fit they are so maybe we will have to change our game plan to deal with the way they play but you know how they play and we know how we can play so we have to be focused on that game."

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