'Stop trying to be a hard a**!' - USMNT's Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie told by Alexi Lalas to focus more on the game at Leeds

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Tyler Adams Leeds argue 2022-23
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Former United States men's national team star Alexi Lalas sent a strong message to Leeds duo Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie about their attitudes.
  • Adams & McKennie involved in skirmishes
  • Widely applauded for recent toughness
  • But Lalas feels they should change mindset

WHAT HAPPENED? Lalas was asked on his podcast whether recent approval for Adams and McKennie regarding their aggressive, physical play might be misplaced considering Leeds' continued struggles. The American responded by saying that while he understood why the USMNT stars were eager to show their toughness in the Premier League, they might now be too caught up with that aspect of their games.

WHAT THEY SAID: "If you are coming into the league then it's your first time playing in the EPL I think that there is the tendency given what the image is of the league to come in with the notion that ... your physical output is going to dictate your success," Lalas said on his State of the Union podcast. "It's reinforced by the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' and cheers if and when somebody goes in for a hard tackle. That's ingrained in the culture. So I think someone like Weston McKennie or Tyler Adams coming in says, 'you know the quickest way to people's hearts? through this physical nature.' That may be true but it's fleeting and it's short-term ultimately.

"Stop trying to be a hard a** and just pass the ball and just make the tackles that you can do and you can still be physical and get those 'oohs' and 'ahhs' without getting in the face of somebody every single time you feel you've been aggrieved, which is sometimes what we're seeing with Tyler Adams. I love that he stands up for himself I love that he stands up for his teammates but at times you look around [and it's not neccesary]."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Leeds are in 19th place in the Premier League but remain two points from safety. They hired manager Javi Gracia on Tuesday after firing Jesse Marsch earlier this month and hope Gracia can bring stability to the club.

Both Adams and McKennie are in their first seasons at Leeds, with Adams joining last summer and McKennie coming on loan from Juventus in the January window.

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WHAT NEXT FOR LEEDS? The Whites have a crucial match against last-place Southampton on Saturday.