Lewis Baker has struggled to find himself a spot in the Leeds United squad this season, rarely getting the chance to impress and when he does he doesn’t take it. The departure of Samu Saiz to Getafe in January means he now has the chance to play in his preferred role, and he starts at Bolton today.
Baker arrived as the first Leeds United signing under Marcelo Bielsa and looked like may play an important role under the new coach this season. He was played in the second XI that Bielsa used during pre-season with Mateusz Klich and Ronaldo Vieira in a three-man midfield. Baker looked sharp and as Samu Saiz struggled to contribute Baker made a half-time substitute appearance in the final game of pre-season, both he and Klich looked like they may have done enough to start against Stoke City.
As it was Klich had done enough and has started every league game since, Baker just one. Baker was put into the side for the Reading game at Elland Road a couple of weeks ago but it’s fair to say he struggled massively, being hooked at half-time along with the under-performing Gjanni Alioski. Today represents the chance for Baker to break into the side before the return, and long-awaited debut of another Chelsea loanee in Izzy Brown.
Leeds starting XI to face Bolton – Peacock-Farrell, Shackleton, Phillips, Jansson, Douglas, Forshaw, Klich, Baker, Alioski, Hernandez (c), Roofe.
The other option was to play young Finnish centre-back Aapo Halme who has impressed due since the defence was bombarded with injuries. This would have led to Kalvin Phillips returning into the centre of the park and pushing Forshaw and Klich on a role, Baker continuing on the bench. A goal during the week for Baker in the under 23’s may have boosted his confidence, today he needs to make sure he announces himself at Leeds United.