Last summer Leeds United snapped up Jay-Roy Grot, a Holland Under-20 international who much was expected of. It is quite fair to say that things didn’t really work out that way.
Leeds United fans are not normally known for their everlasting patience with players that fail to deliver, and that proved to be the case with youngster Grot. It’s quite ironic that Grot cuts an imposing brute of a figure on the field of play yet some Leeds United fans will be quick to indicate that he’s hardly the most physically imposing of players.
With performances falling away, soon the terraces were on his back – although it must be noted that not all fans were calling him out as not fit for the side.
Grot has potential, likely bags of it, but Leeds United fans didn’t get to see that during his 19 Championship appearances (295 minutes) in the famous white shirt.
He was used mainly as a substitute by Thomas Christiansen and, after Christiansen was sacked, by Paul Heckingbottom. Indeed, Grot only started one game, against Preston North End, and his sum contribution across the season was one goal and one assist.
With new Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa already pretty much set on what his main squad will be, it looked like more time on the sidelines for the Dutch youngster. However, a loan out the Dutch Eredivisie side VVV Venlo is likely the best move for both parties.
For Grot it will give him a healthy amount of game time to recapture that promise and potential; for Leeds United it will mean that he’ll hopefully return after this season in better form and ready to kick-on.
His time back in Holland has certainly started well with the young striker finding the back of the net with some regularity in pre-season. He started his loan out in spectacular fashion, hitting a brace on his début against minnows Veritas as Venlo put seven past them in a 7-1 drubbing. He played 60 minutes of that game, enough time to run off his inaction and pop two goals on to his account.
In his next game he kept his shooting boots firmly polished with a brace against minnows SVEB as Venlo smashed 16 goals past their hapless opponents 11 days ago. Today it was a step up in class for Grot’s Venlo side as they faced third-tier competition in De Treffers.
The step up in class saw a drop down in goals with Venlo running out eventual 3-0 winners on the day. What will interest Leeds United fans is that Grot was again on the scoresheet, netting from distance (56′) to give him his fifth goal of pre-season so far.
You can, of course, criticise the level of competition, and rightly should do so. Yet Jay-Roy Grot is simply doing what all strikers get paid to do – score goals.