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Football News: Team Review - Leeds United

Team Review - Leeds United
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Team Review - Leeds United

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League Position: 9th

 

Goalkeepers:

Illan Meslier
Kiko Casilla
Elia Caprile

Despite being just 21, Meslier has already shown himself to be easily good enough for the Premier League, with huge potential to improve. So long as the French youngster stays they will have no need to look for a first-choice keeper. They could do with a back up though, as Casilla is not the most reliable of goalies, when reliability is probably the most important thing you can have in a back up. So long as Meslier stays fit, they will not have to worry.

 


Defenders:

Diego Llorente
Robin Koch
Liam Cooper
Pascal Struijk
Ezgjan Alioski (out of contract)
Stuart Dallas
Barry Douglas (released)
Leif Davis
Luke Ayling
Gaetano Berardi (released)
Robbie Gotts

Another young stand out, in the shape of Struijk, gives Leeds something to build around for the long term. Despite the outgoings, the only real potential for problems I can see is at left-back, but Dallas has proven himself to be excellent there and Davis could well be the answer there. With Llorente and Koch having had time to bed in now, and a more normal season in prospect, you would have to expect a much stronger and more settled defence next season.

 


Midfielders:

Kalvin Phillips
Ouasim Bouy (released)
Mateusz Klich
Adam Forshaw
Jamie Shackleton
Eunan O'Kane (released)
Jordan Stevens
Pablo Hernandez (released)

With Hernandez's time in Leeds now ended, sadly, there does look a lack of creativity from the centre of midfield, but Bielsa's style of play means that is not often required, so they may well be able to do without a truly creative central mid. With Phillips to build from the back and the likes of Shackleton and Klich, the midfield does still look good, it just lacks numbers for a full season. That will have to be addressed in the summer window.

 


Forwards:

Raphinha
Helder Costa
Ian Poveda
Tyler Roberts
Rodrigo
Patrick Bamford
Joe Gelhardt
Ryan Edmondson

One things that does shine through in this Leeds squad is the good spread of ages, with very few older players that could struggle to maintain the pace of Bielsaball over the course of a season. Up front they look particularly strong, with Rodrigo looking better as the season went along and Raphinha loking like a huge star. They do need to look to replace Jack Harrison for the long term, whether that is by buying him on a permanent basis or bringing in someone else for the left-wing, there is a real dearth of left-sided forwards without him. The key will be hanging on to Raphinha or, if they do receive an offer they cannot refuse, using the money wisely.

 


Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

How do you describe Marcelo Bielsa? Mad? Quite possibly. A genius? Most definitely. Different? Oh yes. Bielsa is one of the great's of the modern game and it is a real coup for Leeds to have him. You may look at his record and think he has not won enough to deserve to be considered a great, but that is more down to Bielsa having the courage of his principles. He does what he considers to be the right thing, which means Bielsa always looks to coach his way to the top, working with youngsters to make them better. That takes time to come to fruition and Bielsa has finally found a place where he is being given that time and that has taken him to their hearts. Sometimes a manager just fits, Bielsa has found his home at Leeds and the only worry is that the pressure could get too much for an obsessive like him. Right now though, he is working a minor miracle and all he needs is backing to continue to do so.

 


Conclusion:

In the strongest position they have been in since the early 1990's and looking like a team on the up. They do need to invest in a few players to fill holes in the squad, but overall they look very ready to push for a European place next season.

 

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Written by Tris Burke June 02 2021 08:06:44

 

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