Leeds United: We’ll keep up the pace at the top, insists Alioski

Leeds United's Ezgjan Alioski.
Leeds United's Ezgjan Alioski.
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NEW Leeds United winger Gjanni Alioski has already picked up one prize as far as this season’s Sky Bet Championship is concerned.

The Macedonian’s blistering strike in last month’s 2-0 victory at Nottingham Forest was not surprisingly named goal of the month for August.

Ezgjan Alioski.

Ezgjan Alioski.

Alioski, though, knows the biggest prize of all – promotion – is some way off at the beginning of September.

Yet United’s flying winger sees no reason why his new club cannot maintain their flying start with the 25-year-old proud that Leeds are top of the table and fully believing the Whites can stay there.

Alioski’s fine form has helped United to the top of the Championship with Thomas Christiansen’s Whites leapfrogging former leaders Cardiff City with Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory at home to Birmingham City.

United could now extend their lead with victory in this afternoon’s clash at sixth-bottom Millwall though Alioski knows the table is still very much in its infancy after just seven games.

Leeds, though, are now the only unbeaten team in the division and Alioski has a real belief that United’s stunning start is no flash in the pan and merely a sign of more to come.

Asked if he believed that his new Leeds United side could stay top of the league, Alioski insisted: “Of course I believe.

“We have a big team and also when some players can’t play we have other players and when I see what we do, away and also at home, I believe.

“When I first came here and I saw the team I believed we could do something.

“I think we can do it always on the pitch.

“I am very happy that we are there and we must continue to stay there.”

Such is the strength of United’s new-look squad, even Macedonian gem Alioski cannot be assured of a definite starting place at present.

The winger dropped to the bench for Saturday’s 5-0 hammering of Burton Albion at Elland Road as a similarly in-form Kemar Roofe was given the nod on the opposite flank to Pablo Hernandez.

Alioski, though, had only recently returned from a busy spell with the Macedonian international side during the international break and the winger was back in the starting XI for Tuesday night’s 2-0 success at home to Birmingham City.

With a goal of the month under his belt plus a hatful of assists and man-of-the-match displays, the 25-year-old has made an impressive start to life in the Championship with Leeds since signing from Swiss club Lugano in the summer.

Better still, Alioski says his best is still yet to come.

“It’s a new challenge for me here, I know,” said Alioski.

“But I think my character, my play and how I play, it’s good and I like it also how they play in England.

“At first it was not so easy but I think if I have more and more games then I will be better.

“I enjoy all of the games and I like how they play in England.”

Furthermore, as well as settling quickly into life on the pitch, Alioski has also adapted smoothly to life in Leeds off it.

Swiss international Gaetano Berardi has understandably been a settling influence on Alioski, as have fellow Italian speaking Pontus Jansson and Caleb Ekuban.

But Alioski has also developed a noticeable new bond with fellow summer recruit Samu Saiz who has become the Macedonian international’s room mate.

The duo may speak different languages off the pitch but the two United flair players most definitely speak the same lingo on it.

“Gaetano Berardi helped me and Ekuban and also Samu Saiz,” said Alioski.

“But mostly Gaetano Berardi and Pontus – they tell me which restaurants are good here in Leeds or where to go and which places.

“They are a big help.”

Explaining more about his bond with Saiz, multi-lingual Alioski smiled: “He speaks only Spanish, he doesn’t understand good English and, me, I don’t speak Spanish!

“But we communicate in a little English or Italian, I speak a little German and we speak like this to communicate like this and I’m glad we can because it’s not easy.

“It’s a nice feeling with him, we are good friends, we go after training to eat and things like this and I am in the room with him when we go away.

“I like also how he plays, I like the technique that he has. He’s a very good player.”

Not that Alioski – whose English is excellent – is teaching the Spaniard the nation’s language.

A modest Alioski laughed: “My English is not so good and I want to speak like the British accent but it’s not easy.

“I think Samu must go to school. That’s better for him.”

Thomas Christiansen

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