Leeds Must Unleash Brilliant Star

In recent weeks there has been a huge clamour from Leeds United fans for Javi Gracia to unleash teenage winger Wilfried Gnonto to aid their fight against relegation.

There were audible groans during the week as Crysencio Summerville came off the bench to replace the injured Luis Sinisterra, with the Italy international left on the bench to continue his recent lack of game time under the Spanish manager.


Given the gravity of the game and the impressive performances that Gnonto has produced in his first season in England, it is a huge source of frustration for Leeds fans that he has barely featured since the international break.

However, the main issue for Leeds is not with their attack, but with their toiling midfield and defence, with Marc Roca and Weston McKennie providing little protection for the back four, so Gracia must consider instead unleashing the rarely-seen Adam Forshaw.

Should Leeds start Adam Forshaw?

Forshaw has mustered just seven appearances in the Premier League so far this term and looks destined to depart Elland Road in the summer when his contract expires, but his experience could still be crucial for Gracia in the remaining games.

Since joining from Middlesbrough in January 2018, the midfielder has gone on to make just 86 appearances for the Yorkshire outfit, with injuries plaguing his time at Elland Road, but he has still caught the eye when enjoying a rare run in the first team, with Jermaine Beckford singing his praises on Sky Sports in 2021.

He said (via Leeds Live): “He’s been like a brand new player. So much energy, so much hunger. But I like that when Adam came in it was like there was nothing to worry about, nothing was missing.

“His passing ability, his movement, he breaks up play really well, he links up the game really well. Brilliant, brilliant football player.”

This desire and ability to break up the play could be the key to ending a rotten defensive record that has seen the Whites ship a league-high 63 times.

In the absence of the influential Tyler Adams, Leeds have leaked goals in recent weeks, suffering heavy defeats against Crystal Palace and Liverpool which have dropped them back into serious relegation trouble.


Gracia is seemingly unwilling to utilise Archie Gray or Darko Gyabi but needs to make a change to his midfield if he wants to keep the Peacocks in the Premier League, as Phil Hay emphasised in his build-up to the Leicester game in his Q and A for The Athletic.

He wrote: “Forshaw is also an option. Has to be something different to Roca-McKennie, I feel. That partnership is too easy to bully.”

Some experience in the middle of the park could be exactly what Gracia needs to steady the ship, especially with some extremely tricky games coming up before the end of the season.

Therefore, while fans will continue to call for Gnonto on the wing, defensive security should be the priority, and Forshaw should be the man to come into the midfield for upcoming fixtures.

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