The summer is rolling in very fast and some players will be wondering what the future holds for them. It’s all well and good saying that players are happy to sit and take the money but at the end of the day most aren’t, they want to play football and if they are told they aren’t wanted, the chances are high their agents will begin seeking out new clubs for them. There are more than a few at Leeds who should be doing this during the summer, here’s the first of three articles looking at the squad, the goalkeepers and defence the focus in this one.
Baily Peacock-Farrell – Probably the find of the season in the end. Paul Heckingbottom has come under huge pressure from sections of fans for results and performances and that’s natural, but he also threw in Peacock-Farrell when most of us said he wasn’t good enough. He signed a new deal earlier this season and it’s a good job. Will be heading into the summer as the number one. Verdict – Keep.
Felix Wiedwald – At the start of the season it was clean sheet after clean sheet. The defence was looking great and Wiedwald was barely being tested. As the season went on he was found out and eventually after he and Andy Lonergan had flapped at their chances he was dropped, he didn’t even make the squad on Saturday against Barnsley, that tells you where this is heading. Verdict – Sell.
Andy Lonergan – Signed last-minute after the departure of Rob Green and was meant to be the back-up to Wiedwald. I remember him coming into the side and people raving about him, but that was more because they didn’t like Wiedwald than Lonergan actually playing well. A few games later and it became obvious that he wasn’t the short-term answer let alone long-term. Great to have experienced players around, but we need two good goalkeepers at the club, we currently have one viable option. Verdict – Release.
Luke Ayling – Such a huge miss since his injury, both him on the pitch and what he brings off it. It was obvious as soon as we signed Luke Ayling that he was a character and you need that at any club, the lack of characters in our squad has become very obvious this season. We need Ayling back and we need him in the changing rooms, such an important player. Verdict – Keep.
Lewie Coyle – An interesting summer ahead for the Leeds United academy right-back. The criticism levelled at him has always been that he hasn’t played enough first-team football, he’s blown that out of the water this season, a very good loan at Fleetwood Town where he could well be named the Player of the Year. personally I would have him back and pushing for the first-team this season, certainly a good option to have in the squad. Verdict – Keep.
Gaetano Berardi – Berardi needs to make a decision going forward, he either sorts his discipline out or he won’t play. He isn’t the most talented player in his position, in fact he may well be behind Coyle and Ayling in that respect but he is experienced and consistent, can play in various positions and wants to be at the club. I don’t buy into the rubbish that he has to play like he does and that’s why he gets sent off, it doesn’t help the team and it doesn’t help him. Saying that, he always gives 100% which isn’t always the case with others. Verdict – Keep.
Matthew Pennington – Probably the biggest disappointment of the season. The young Everton defender arrived with a bubbling reputation and was the direct replacement for Kyle Bartley. The idea of signing players on loan from the Premier League is good, but they have to be right and Pennington hasn’t been. Verdict – Return To Everton.
Liam Cooper – Cooper isn’t good enough to get Leeds United into the play-offs, it’s very obvious. He is a good character but he’s at a club that in order to progress can’t have him playing on a regular basis. I genuinely think when Conor Shaughnessy and Paudie O’Connor play at the back we look better. we need at least one centre-back, maybe two. Maybe we keep Cooper on as a back-up and cup games, no more. Verdict – Keep Unless We Sign Two Centre Backs.
Conor Shaughnessy – The young defender certainly made an impression when playing at centre-back. Naturally he’s a central midfielder but he didn’t look like that when thrown into that position under Thomas Christiansen. He is very good on the ball and playing out from the back and I think as a centre-back he has a bright future, I really like his style of play. Verdict – Keep, Maybe Loan To League One
Pontus Jansson – If you had said going into this season that Jansson would have been one of the players who really sunk then most would have laughed. A man who could do no wrong last season has been very poor this, we need him that’s for sure, but he needs a partner. I’m not convinced that he is 100% sure about hanging around but Premier League clubs will be thinking twice after his performances this season. Verdict – Must Keep.
Paudie O’Connor – O’Connor can certainly be considered for the first-team after his performances since coming into the side. He can’t go back to development football for me but I also don’t think he’s the answer at centre-back next season. He has to be loaned out, and I would give him a long-term contract, he has a bright future ahead of him. – Verdict – Long-term contract and loan.
Tom Pearce – Grabbed his first goal for Leeds United on Saturday and is making a strong case for being involved next season. He’s another who can’t really go back to development football after impressing in the first-team. Personally I think he is good enough to be playing next season, players need exposure and if we have Ayling back as well as a new centre-back it could be the perfect time. Verdict – Keep.
Laurens De Bock – The jury is out on De Bock and we haven’t seen enough to be convinced that he’s the answer at left-back, in fact Pearce has played better and looked more comfortable than De Bock did in his spell in the side. He will get a chance in pre-season, but I don’t know if he will be the left-back next season. Saying that, he has pedigree and he may just need time to settle. Verdict – Make Judgement In Pre-Season.
Vurnon Anita – Such a strange situation regarding Anita. Played the majority of games as Newcastle won the league last season and looked good whilst doing it. Has looked very poor at Leeds and needs to go this summer. All that needs to be said really. Verdict – Sell.