Leeds United: You can never have too many strikers – Ritchie

Souleymane Doukara. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Souleymane Doukara. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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WITH the signing of Chris Wood, Leeds United have quite a lot of striking options now, including Lee Erwin, Souleymane Doukara, Mirco Antenucci, Billy Sharp and Steve Morison – along with the new man from Leicester.

You would think that one or two might go now. However, I remember being at Oldham when Joe Royle used to have six strikers. He’d always say that you cannot have enough forwards and I tend to agree.

During the season, you will have strikers who have good patches and then go off a bit. You might have to leave them out and bring someone else in at times.

Looking at the ones Leeds have got, Billy Sharp and Steve Morison do have lots of experience at this level and you can rarely buy that these days. To buy the experience that they have got costs you a lot of money.

Looking at Doukara, for me Leeds have got to get him working and Uwe has got to do something with him now. If Uwe, who was a fantastic striker himself, can’t do that, who can?

Doukara has got to fulfil his potential because for me, he could be a world-beater if he gets his head right. He’s quick, strong and has all the ingredients.

Scoring goals or a lack of them was one of the major problems from him last season.

If Leeds had scored a few more goals, they might have even had a slight chance of the play-offs.

Looking at the signing of Chris, he has all the attributes and is a big, strong lad up front.

Wood has got a record of one goal in every three games and, as Uwe said, he has experience at this level. He just needed a new goal and aim in his career at the minute after not playing at Leicester last season and the four-year deal at Leeds does provide stability for him.

He’s had a good start in his career and it’s about fulfilling his potential at Leeds now. There’s no better place to do it than Leeds, with the best set of fans ever and he will have those all behind him.

Being a striker, it will be important for him to have a good start. I was lucky at Leeds in that I scored on my debut and becoming top-scorer in my first season did help me.

With Uwe seeming to look towards maybe playing three up front in the season, it looks as though Chris will be the spearhead of it and Erwin will play on one side of him. I have seen a few of his goals at Motherwell where he has worked out wide and come inside and scored.

Maybe Wood will take all the flak up front and Erwin will be the one who works off one side of him.

Looking at the signings, Leeds still need a few more experienced players at this level, even after getting Sol Bamba in at the back. They do need that old head in the midfield now around the kids for me, with Rudy Austin gone – someone with a bit of pedigree in there.

I notice Uwe has also spoken about everyone in the squad being unified and that was good to hear for me.

You have to bring people together, there’s no two ways about it. Everyone has to pull in the right direction and sing from the same hymn sheet.

Leeds need one camp and no factions. That’s massively important.

As a manager and player, I never had any problems with divided camps or anything. When I was managing, I didn’t have that many foreign players anyway. But I always used to try and have that strong team spirit and make a thing of it. Every team I was at had that and we were all as one together in the dressing room.

I think that is so important. There is a lot spoken about team spirit. But what I will say is that teams who have got it do better than teams without it.

Much is spoken about having team bonding nights out and doing to the races or dogs or something. But you don’t really have to do that even. If you have a good dressing room, sometimes that does not enter the equation. If you have a happy dressing room, you don’t need to do that.

The England women bowed out on the World Cup and had late heartache against Japan late on Wednesday and I was so disappointed for them, but so proud as well for all their efforts.

I watched the games and I was gutted for them to concede in the 90th-minute in the semis and they had some great chances, too.

But, overall, they have all been superb and on the subject of togetherness, they have all been so together during the tournament.

I just felt for them, especially Laura Bassett with the unfortunate own goal against the Japanese.

But they can come back to England and all hold their heads so high for me.

They were brilliant and have done the country proud.

The country have totally bought into their efforts and as a team, they showed how to attack things in a major tournament.

They got it right, definitely.

In the bigger picture, their exploits certainly will not do English football any harm as a whole.

Thanks to them, women’s football has just gone through the roof and in future there will be a lot more people tuning into it and looking at it on BBC websites and things like the right.

They can be truly proud of themselves, that’s for sure. when they arrive home back in England.

Marco Silvestri

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