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Does forgotten Leeds United player still have role to play for Whites?

As it stands, Yosuke Ideguchi is a persona non grata at Leeds United. He’s already been told that he will not feature in the Whites’ first-team squad.

It is a far cry from when the then-Japanese international first-choice midfielder was ‘announced’ by Director of Football Victor Orta in a Facebook Live broadcast as a ‘surprise’ from Asia.

It was a surprise all right, Ideguchi being one of the Blue Samurai’s rising stars and a player who many thought a nailed-on cert for a place at this year’s World Cup. That wasn’t to be though, his hopes of appearing in Russia wrecked by Leeds United farming him out to Cultural Leonesa in Spain.

He didn’t appear much for the then second-tier Spanish side in a season where they suffered relegation back in to Spain’s third division. His lack of game time was not only frustrating for the player, but also for many Leeds United fans who saw Leonesa’s wasteful employment of the Japan star through nothing other than negative eyes.

Upon his arrival at Leeds United, new manager Marcelo Bielsa made it perfectly clear which players would/wouldn’t be in his plans, Ideguchi falling in to the latter group. A move away from Elland Road looks a certainty, but he hasn’t gone just yet.

Here he is appearing for the Under-23s tonight against their Coventry City counterparts, starting the game in Leeds United’s midfield. That means very little to some, after all he has not been given a squad number and has fallen behind youngster Jamie Shackleton in the pecking order after the youngster made his début in the 4-1 drubbing of Derby County.

Most likely he will head out of the club, another player not to make the grade at Elland Road, but does that really have to be the case? Or does the no-doubt talented Ideguchi have the faintest of lifelines still to be cast at Leeds United?

It’s hard to say, and I for one wouldn’t argue with whatever Marcelo Bielsa decided. The fact that he is still being entertained and playing is a good sign, but it’s obvious that he needs to do much, much more than just that.

In games like today’s against Under-23 opposition, Ideguchi has to really impose himself and put in a commanding performance. It’s something that a player of his supposed calibre as an international should easily be able to achieve. Currently he’s having a tidy game against Coventry City’s Under-23s.

He’s just set up Sam Dalby for his second of the night with an exquisite assist. Receiving the ball outside of the box, the rising star from the Land of the Rising Sun deftly chipped in a ball that Tiger Woods in his prime would have been proud of. His lofted dink was both measured and delivered with unerring precision, onto the head of Sam Dalby whose header drifted over Addai in the Coventry goal to give the Whites a two-goal lead.

Should he have something special in him, Leeds United fans might want to look at the sudden Lazarus-like reappearance of Mateusz Klich after his loan spell back in Holland last season. Does the combative Japanese midfielder still have a future at Leeds United? He just might have you know.

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