Aidy White is of the view that Ilia Gruev often goes unnoticed in Leeds United’s performances despite being critical to their midfield engine room.


Gruev was again brilliant in the middle of the park as Leeds beat Stoke City 1-0 at Elland Road on Tuesday night and remained third in the Championship standings.


The Bulgarian took a while to nail down a spot in the starting eleven but has not been out of the team since January.




White pointed out that Gruev has been so good in the middle of the park that Leeds have not missed Ethan Ampadu, who has been playing as a centre-back for weeks due to injury issues in their defence.


The former Leeds star conceded that it is easy to not notice the midfielder but his ability on the ball coupled with his tough-tackling nature, make him vital to the Whites team.



White said on BBC Radio Leeds: “He is there when you need him.


“Since he has come in, he has almost kept Ampadu from playing that centre-mid role because he was terrific.



“He is still terrific in the centre-half role, but Gruev has come in and has almost nailed that centre-mid role and Ampadu is filling in as centre-back.


“He is having a really good season since he has come in.


“He almost goes unnoticed and is probably one of those players who doesn’t get the credit or attention he deserves.


“He is smart with his play; he has good quality on the ball and he also puts in a good tackle.


“He is not huge but he has got a lot of heart.”


Gruev is likely to start again when Leeds travel to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.