There are a few players who we didn’t expect to head on the post-season tour of Myanmar and there is nothing strange about them not travelling. However some who have been struggling to make an impact have also been left behind and that could well mean a decision has already been made about their futures.
Pontus Jansson, Adam Forshaw, Pablo Hernandez and Liam Cooper were all left behind, two because of new and expecting babies, one for an injury and one is heading to the World Cup. Gjanni Alioksi will almost certainly be playing for Macedonia in the coming weeks so he also didn’t travel. There were a few first-team players who have no reason not to be going (as far as we know) other than the fact that Paul Heckingbottom has already decided their future doesn’t lie at Elland Road. It almost seems obvious because there are a few first-team players who we probably didn’t expect to go but have. Samu Saiz has headed out, along with Luke Ayling, Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips, all who have had big seasons, although Ayling was more clear as games will do him good.
Players left out of squad.
Hadi Sacko – Sacko may well head to Mali for international duty but either way the games would have done him good because he’s had a serious lack of them this season. The only reason I can see why he was left behind was that Heckingbottom has already made up his mind that he isn’t good enough. He has had just one start under the new head-coach and that in itself is enough to tell you what Hecky thinks of him. It isn’t as if he’s been kept out of the side by players playing well either. His time is most probably up.
Felix Wiedwald – Dropped from the bench recently and certainly never came here to be the number three choice. I think he’ll be the first one out of the door this summer, probably on a plane with Pierre-Michel Lasogga back to Germany. It hasn’t worked out for him at Leeds and it’s one of them where the club will probably look to offload him even if that means no fee coming in.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga – Everyone has formed their opinions of Lasogga and why it hasn’t worked for him. I believe that deep down there is a very good player but the only thing stopping him is himself. His attitude and work rate went through phases and once he’s scored a goal he turns into a player for the rest of the game. Certainly not been a write off but also not worth gambling on keeping. Wouldn’t be worth the money or the risk that he just didn’t put the work in. He needs to drop some weight as well, it’s been clear since he arrived he isn’t fit enough to sustain his levels.
Matthew Pennington – I think for me this was the disappointment of the season. Pennington arrived from Everton as a very highly rated young player but as the season has gone on I think he’s been exposed massively for his footballing ability. I think he struggles at everything apart from when it’s backs against the wall and unfortunately you have to be good at a bit of everything in today’s game (as a defender). On the ball he’s poor, but when he’s last ditch he thrives and I find that strange. Is this deal off the cards? I’m not sure, I thought he may head on the trip so Hecky could get one last look at him, maybe a call has been made either way, I know the club have been keen to sign him but he also signed a new deal at Everton. For me, he isn’t worth keeping.
Eunan O’Kane – Five into four doesn’t fit and I believe that the player who is most vulnerable is Eunan O’Kane this summer. You go into a season with four central midfielders at this level normally. Ronaldo Vieira and Adam Forshaw safe, Kalvin Phillips an ever-present under Hecky basically and Klich revealing Leeds want him back. O’Kane has barely kicked a ball recently and although he MAY be called up for Ireland, he barely kicks a ball for them either so this trip would have done him well if he was looking to impress the head-coach.
Pawel Cibicki – Hasn’t started a game or even come off the bench under Paul Heckingbottom, I think we have seen the last of Cibicki for the time being at least. Took an age to get into the side then played well a couple of games before really struggling again. One of the poorest players going into the new year. This was the perfect opportunity to make his mark, he won’t even get the chance.
Vurnon Anita – Adam Pope and Phil Hay didn’t mention an injury although it was discussed a few weeks back he had picked up a knee issue so I’m unsure on this one in terms of why he’s been left out but I can safely say I am confident he isn’t in the plans of Paul Heckingbottom and it’s easy to justify why. Stuart Dallas was preferred to him at right-back and Tom Pearce was brought in ahead of him at left-back, enough said.