Leeds United - Andy Ritchie: Pre-season about to go up a gear for Monk’s men

Garry Monk takes pre-season training.

Garry Monk takes pre-season training.

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LEEDS UNITED take on Peterborough today and you have got a significant jump up in opposition there.

No disrespect to the two Irish teams last week but I think you have got a good team in Peterborough who will give Leeds a really good grounding for the final friendly against Atalanta.

Garry Monk will probably, I would have thought, put out the team that he thinks will face QPR, at the start of the Atalanta game.

There might be one or two doubts in his mind but at that stage he will have his team in his mind that is going to start that first game. But I don’t think he has to go into the new season on four wins. You have to go in knowing how you are going to play and who is going to play.

That’s more important and I’ve always thought it’s more important about the way you are playing and the way you are identifying weaknesses.

That’s what you do with pre-season. Hopefully, you iron those weaknesses out and you hope that you don’t get a lot of injuries as well because that can obviously scupper your team or who you want to put out in that first game.

He’ll be hoping it’s injury-free but I would expect him to play probably his nearest XI against Atalanta.

There’s been a lot of talk about who would be captain this season and in terms of what position the captain should play – I don’t know really. I’ve had a centre-back at Oldham – when I was manager there I had Sean Garnett who was the captain for a while and then I had John Sheridan who was obviously a midfield player.

But I think you look for people that have got an influence in the dressing room, people that have got that presence in there and I don’t think it really matters for me where that comes from.

Could it be a goalkeeper? I can see what people might say about that – they are at the back of the team and ideally I suppose you are looking at maybe a midfield player who can get to the back four and also get to everybody up front and get around.

But I think what you are looking for is one that has got that influence and if it is the goalkeeper then you are still looking on the pitch for hopefully having two or three others who are captains without actually having that armband on. People like Chris Wood and Stuart Dallas are still young but they have played a lot of games haven’t they? Especially Dallas. And I think you definitely need somebody that is going to be your voice.

Off the pitch, I see the club have got rid of the ‘pie tax’ and they have also introduced cheaper tickets for under-11s and I think that’s a great initiative. I didn’t agree with that ‘pie tax’ anyway but getting younger people in – they’ve got to do that. They’ve got to get that interest and they have got to get cheaper tickets for the parents to be able to bring them in.

I think that’s a really good move because you have got to do these things.

You can’t just expect nowadays that you come to Leeds because your dad’s a Leeds fan and your grandfather was a Leeds fan because it’s so global, football now.

There’s so much on TV, every single day and night of the week you can watch football and the global tentacles are out everywhere so it’s not as easy now.

They have got to try and lure people in and maybe they can have ‘kids go free’ nights like in the cup games or get them in for a fiver or whatever and get them hooked.

Leeds still have got that pull. You go over to Ireland and they have still got a massive following over there and you can go to Norway and Sweden and they have got a massive folllowing in those areas.

United are still the biggest club outside of the Premier League.

If they get it going and get back in the Premier League they would be filling that stadium every week.

They have already got the best away following in the Championship and the club has got a brilliant fanbase. But I still think they have to try and keep that going and not rest on their laurels and thinking ‘everybody knows about Leeds United.’ They have still have still got to get those kids through the turnstiles.

GONE: Garry Monk.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Garry Monk reveals ‘huge disappointment’ over decision to quit Leeds United