I THINK the international break is probably a good thing for Leeds United.
It gives them chance to regroup again before another hard game against Newcastle United next Sunday and it will give Garry Monk the chance to put plans in place.
The break will give him time to have a look at Newcastle and the way they are setting up and how to combat their danger men.
The international break will also give him a bit more time with the players and just a lot more preparation ready for a big game.
The Football League handed the Championship manger of the month award for October to Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez on Friday, after Garry was nominated for the award too.
And I think you have got to look at results haven’t you and Newcastle won five out of five in the league that month.
Newcastle are on fire at the moment, Rafa seems to have got them firing on all cylinders and he is getting them adjusted to the Championship now and the way of playing and they are seeing the benefits from that.
But in saying that, they have got international players in their ranks and you would expect Newcastle to be up there.
With Leeds, I would say Garry has probably done a better job because it’s difficult when you are on a budget and you have got to bring players in and you don’t have money available.
So really, the job that Garry has done, is probably a little bit harder and he is a little bit more successful right now than Benitez.
Our Irish international midfielder Eunan O’Kane had to fly home early during the international break with a groin injury.
And I think Eunan has probably been one of the most consistent players for Leeds.
Everyone has been playing at the top of their game but when I look at him and the calmness that he brings to the team and the way he gets back in to defend and gets himself into the right positions, that’s experience.
And if you lose somebody with that kind of experience and that calmness about a team then you are going to miss them.
But hopefully coming back early is going to give him another week to get himself right and the club can assess him and see what they need to do to try and make it that he’s in the starting line up for Sunday’s match.
If O’Kane and Liam Bridcutt are both going to be missing against Newcastle then it’s going to be difficult, isn’t it? They have got a lot of experience in their team at Newcastle.
But in saying that, I would put my trust in the Leeds United players, whether that’s the squad or the XI in general because we saw against Norwich that it’s not just about the XI – it’s about the whole squad and everybody contributing, such as the substitutes when they came on.
If so, then they have got another opportunity against Newcastle to shine and show the manager why they should be in that starting XI.
If somebody is injured then that’s your big opportunity and whoever steps in – if O’Kane is injured – will be going out there to show the manager that he wants to keep that spot.
It could mean Ronaldo Vieira starting alongside Kalvin Phillips and, don’t get me wrong, I would much prefer to see somebody with a little bit more experience in there – as much as they have done really, really well. But I think they do well because they have that experience in the team that is sitting in there behind them and helping them along.
I think it re-assures the young players when you are next to somebody who has played at the top level and who has got those few more years under their belt of consistent football.
But sometimes when you cross that white line you have got to become men and if that is the case then they have got to grow up very quickly.
Northern Ireland also called up Stuart Dallas during the international break – even though he had been injured – and, personally, I think that’s shambolic.
I think the clubs help the countries a lot with the players and I really think you should get the same back from countries so if they are injured, they are injured.
No-one is going to lie about it and he’s not been playing for four weeks so why should he be leaving his physio treatment and the work that the physios are doing with such an important player to go away for three days.
That time could have been critical to his rehabilitation with Leeds United so why they called him up is beyond me – just to send him back.
It’s destructive and it’s unprofessional in my eyes.
Yes, it’s an international break but he is injured and not playing.
And it’s important that the club get the same benefits to what the countries expect.
Chris Wood and Pontus Jansson have also been away on international duty and both have played but they will be absolutely fine for the Newcastle game.
They will be still be buzzing and sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of an international break when you are playing.
It’s different to the pressures of league football.
Plus it’s another cap for them as well and long may that continue because we want international players for our club.
I think being away with their country will just give them more confidence for the game coming up against Newcastle.