As we head into pre-season numbers in certain areas increase without any new additions in the transfer market. The centre of the park at Leeds United is as crowded as ever with players returning from loan and looking to progress from the under 23’s, so how does Paul Heckingbottom decide who stays and who goes?
The Polish midfielder has been in great form since heading back to the Eredivise and helping Utrecht climb the table and end the season on a high. A talented player who never got a fair chance under Thomas Christiansen and one that wants to come back and prove a point at the football club. We have lacked quality in that midfield and a player who was on the brink of the Poland squad again as he arrived is someone we need to give time to impress. For me he’s like a new signing, I expect big things from him on return.
The most nailed on central midfielder for next season. Forshaw arrived at the club with the biggest transfer fee paid out in over a decade and he set the standard. If you pay the money you often get the quality and in this case he is a great example of this. Boro decided it was time to sell and I think Leeds bagged a bargain at £4.5 million. So tidy on the ball and a leader in his intensity and his desire to play for the club. If everyone had his attitude last season we wouldn’t have flopped after the turn of the year. Keeps the ball and keeps us ticking over.
When the squad for Myanmar was announced last month I genuinely thought it was the end of the road for Eunan O’Kane. He wasn’t heading to Burma after being out of favour under Paul Heckingbottom but it turned out to be due to Republic of Ireland duty that had stopped him from going. O’Kane hasn’t been performing since the early part of the season, a bizarre scenario starting his poor form with Christiansen playing him with cracked ribs. It could still be the end of the line in all honesty.
The youngster had a strange season in 17/18 and didn’t really get going. Just as he looked to be coming onto form he was injured at Burton Albion and he only really got back to himself in the last handful of games. He was left out of the team for what seemed an age at the start before returning, the form had already hit a brick wall though. He will be a big part of the plans under Paul Heckingbottom, getting him firing early will be the key.
One of the most, in fact THE most debated player at Leeds United. He’s a bit like marmite, you either rate him very highly or not at all. He scored seven goals last season and throw in a couple of assists he actually has decent stats but he goes missing in games, like Vieira at times and the pair really need to try and find a consistent level, especially Phillips. He can be non-existent for a few games before having a very good performance. A huge summer for him.
Luke Murphy and Oriol Rey
A new deal for Spanish youngster Oriol Rey who will be thinking his extra two years could be his chance to break into the side. Probably a better passer of the ball than the majority of our current first-team as you would expect from a Barcelona youth product, other aspects of his game need work. Murphy is returning from a loan at Burton and despite Nigel Clough ringing Heckingbottom to tell him he should get chance, it’s most likely not going to happen.