It’s easy to point the finger of blame at times, often far too easy. It seems to be a reflex action with some Leeds United fans, one linked to disappointment.
And let’s be honest about it, there’s been plenty to be disappointed about when it comes to Leeds United. The halcyon days of the Champions League Semi-Finals were quickly followed by a drop to League One that ended up coining a phrase ‘Doing a Leeds’.
The plaudit-winning squad was ripped apart in a fire sale that increased as the club tumbled lower. There were the ‘Bates Years’, and there was plenty to be disappointed about with shady ol’ Uncle Ken at the helm.
Following that there was the GFH Capital era, an era defined ironically for a distinct lack of…errr…capital really. After the fiasco of the Bahraini investment that was hardly that, Leeds United fans had to put up with the madcap antics of the ‘Age of Cellino’ for three season, the last one tempered somewhat by Andrea Radrizzani’s involvement.
Radrizzani funded a summer overhaul upon taking full control of the club in May 2017. Purchases were made with the twin focus being on reinvigorating the first-team squad and restocking a depleted Under-18/Under-23 set-up.
One of those players bought is Ghanaian 24-year-old Caleb Ekuban, a striker brought over from Serie A side Chievo Verona. Perhaps that is a little disingenuous, Ekuban having never played for the first team, instead becoming something of a loanee journeyman. His last temporary home was in Albania with FK Partizani last season.
At Partizani, in the Albanian Kategorie Superiore, Ekuban netted 17 times and provided five assists, numbers good enough to catch Leeds United’s eyes and a four-year deal. Now, a trained monkey will likely tell you that there is a gulf in class and competitively between that league and the Sky Bet Championship.
Ekuban, it is safe to say, hasn’t recaptured that sparkling form from Albania – a country where the late Norman Wisdom is held in reverence. Indeed, some of his displays and composure in front of goal have had a definite sense of Whoops Bettiness about them. When it comes to clear-cut chances, and he’s definitely had them, then he’s more than a little remiss at tucking them away.
He’s missed the most ‘big chances’, or clear-cut opportunities, in front of goal (6) than any Leeds United player this season. In fact, five of that half-dozen misses have come in the last three games he’s featured in. Of course, and as expected, the criticism has been there and has been vocal.
However, as former Leeds Untied player David Prutton says in his Yorkshire Evening Post column, it’s time for Leeds fans to lay off Ekuban. Prutton states, “With the greatest respect to Albanian football, did we think he was going to come and jump in straight away? Possibly not. Should we give him time to settle? Yes. Afford him some patience. If he becomes a success at Leeds then great and if not then you address that and move on.”
What former Whites captain Prutton says is exactly the point that I am making, Leeds United fans need to rein in their disappointment and look to magnanimously award Caleb Ekuban the kind of patience that is borne out by time. Yes he’s missed five ‘sitters’ in the last three games, but the positive that can be taken is that he was in the position to miss first.
I’m not saying ‘let’s not be critical’, not at all; temper that criticism though – look to patience for a change. I mean, yes he has missed five ‘big chances’, but at the same time I doubt your 20-year dead Gran could have knocked them in with consummate ease.