Leeds United: Immediate ambition key to Ross staying put - Gray

Ross McCormack celebrates his goal at Barnsley.
Ross McCormack celebrates his goal at Barnsley.
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Leeds Legend Eddie Gray gives his verdict on Barnsley v United

GEORGE Graham was manager the last time we beat Barnsley at Oakwell.

Derek Lilley scored the winner – back in 1997.

But it was a good win for us on Saturday and workmanlike.

I’ve got to be honest and say it wasn’t a great game but it was a win and back-to-back wins have been hard to come by for us this season.

I think Brian McDermott will be delighted and the players worked hard.

And I did say when I was commentating on LUTV that it was a difficult day to play because the wind was swirling and blowing and it’s quite open at Oakwell in the corners.

But the players stuck at it and I’ve got to be honest and say the one real bit of quality in the whole game came through Ross McCormack.

I think the goalkeeper will be a little bit disappointed with his effort but the whole goal was just about Ross’ first touch.

His first touch on the ball was brilliant to pull away from the defenders and that says everything about his season.

He’s just been tremendous and when you actually think about it and analyse it a little bit more, he is playing for a team in mid-table that has not been playing well; or actually the lower half of the table when you look at it.

Yet he’s scored nearly 30 goals!

It’s an incredible effort.

There’s going to be a lot of clubs after him in the summer, of course there will be.

And Ross is getting to the stage in his career where he is not getting any younger and he wants to play at a higher level.

He is at the peak of his performance now – he’s 27 and he’s at the peak of his powers.

So in his own mind he will want to play at the highest level and that is why I think the summer is so important for Leeds United, for Brian and for the owner.

It’s important that we get the right type of player in and make Ross think ‘yes, we’re really going for it next season.’

Because Ross will want to play in the Premier League.

He’ll want to play in the European Championships with Scotland and you’ve got a better chance of doing that if you playing in a higher league if you are performing well.

It’s not a problem for him just now because he is scoring the goals.

But there’s no guarantee that he’s going to get 30 goals next year because there’s going to be another three teams coming down from the Premier League.

So I think Ross will be looking at who the club are going to recruit in the summer and if he thinks we have got a good chance of getting in the Premier League then I think he would stay.

I hope Ross stays because he is a top player and when you actually analyse the whole season, let’s just say it would be a waste of time having any votes for the player of the year award.

We know who it’s going to be and it’s going to be a landslide!

We’d be voting for second and third so I think it’s important that Ross is satisfied as, when you get top players, they have got to think ‘yep, the club is going somewhere.’

And I think we will be going somewhere with the new owner.

I think Massimo Cellino will back Brian and try and bring players in that can complement Ross though I must say that once again Matt Smith did well on Saturday with that little flick on.

He’s done well but when you look at the whole season you have got to say we have got to do better. The game on Saturday was not a great game and that little flash of brilliance from Ross won the game.

That’s happened so many times this season and you’ve got to look at it and say where would we be this season without Ross’ goals? In a relegation battle basically. He’s scored 29 goals and there’s no other player in the league that’s got 29 goals – even in the top teams.

It just goes to show you how important he is and I think it’s been his best season that he’s had for Leeds United. I think he’s looked fit, he’s looked sharp and he always looks like he’s going to score goals.

His winner on Saturday sets things nicely for Monday’s visit of Nottingham Forest.

It will be a difficult game but Ross will be wanting to get himself to 30 goals.

Matthew Pennington.

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