I think the messages from the owner and head-coach need to be taken on board by the players because Heckingbottom especially won’t take prisoners, he will want rid, and Radrizzani knows he has to be more ruthless. Both have said players are playing for their Leeds United careers, so how many are actually under threat of this happening?
You could go through the entire team and most will be down to opinion so you have to look at recent form, how they are getting on under the new head-coach and how they have been involved this season. Some may be playing but only because of a lack of options in their position but some, especially those who have been dropped from the squad in recent weeks must be feeling the pressure, and so they should. Long contracts are all well and good but most will want to be playing, and if they are told they are no longer wanted at the club then they will have to go and look elsewhere, because too many players are underperforming in stages this season, and for long periods of time. Which players currently stand out as having poor seasons, enough to question whether they will be a Leeds player next season?
Before I go through a few I will make these points. I’m not saying they will or should be sold, I’m saying they are the obvious candidates for players who need to step their game up massively before the end of the season. The first-team players I haven’t mentioned, in my eyes are likely to stay, and likely to have done enough going on their recent performances. Saiz, Alioksi, Jansson, Forshaw, Vieira, Berardi and Dallas, other such as Ekuban and De Bock probably won’t have been fully assessed by the end of the season.
Felix Wiedwald – It looks like the German keeper may be dropped, and he deserves it. Too many errors and literally minimal communication with his defenders. I think it’s fair to say that the club will be looking to get a new keeper in during the summer.
Eunan O’Kane and Kalvin Phillips – Personally I think one will have to go. I think the club may well hang on to Phillips because he is a player from the academy, it shouldn’t be the reason we hold onto a player but it could well be, whether we like it or not. Phillips will be man of the match once every seven or eight games and be one of the worst performers until his next man of the match. Ronaldo Vieira isn’t in good form but his potential compared to Phillips can’t be compared.
O’Kane seems to be getting worse, confidence has completely gone and passing is abysmal, his best attribute. He has already been dropped from the 18 by Heckingbottom for a poor performance and it wouldn’t surprise me if he stays out of the 18 for a while now.
Hadi Sacko – Barely featured all season and despite his effort and honesty he simply can’t get in a team who have had poor wingers all season.
Vurnon Anita – It feels like we signed a very good player and have turned him into a very poor one. Has had one or two good games all season and just seems so far off the pace. Has struggled to get into the team for most of the campaign and won’t want to have another season like this. A capped Netherlands player, bearing in mind.
Liam Cooper – In terms of honesty, commitment and understanding of Leeds United he is one of those at the top of the list. In terms of ability to take us forward on the pitch and tighten us up defensively, he’s down near the bottom. Not good enough to take us up. Would keep him around for his attitude and as a back-up, but we need a partner for Pontus Jansson.
Kemar Roofe – Although I rate Roofe he needs to find come consistency because the fans are beginning to turn on him and when he doesn’t turn up for a game he is non-existent, and he seems to be doing that more and more. Hasn’t played since a shocker at Derby, and needs to find his position in the side. I still don’t know where he sees himself playing. Guaranteed to stay if he plays to his potential.
Pawel Cibicki – I seriously question this signing and his attitude behind the scenes because he has barely featured since the summer. Something isn’t right.