Daniel Farke names Leeds United man he's been tempted to 'unleash' in fresh team news hint
The German said he had been tempted to ‘unleash’ Bulgarian international midfielder Ilia Gruev but performances by those currently occupying his position in the middle of the park had meant Farke was unable. Gruev signed from Bundesliga side Werder Bremen over the summer but is yet to start a game for Leeds with Ethan Ampadu, Archie Gray and Glen Kamara preferred instead.
Farke insists he is very pleased to have Gruev at the club and is awaiting the right opportunity before deploying the 23-year-old in the Championship. The ex-Bremen man has been named on the substitutes’ bench for each Leeds matchday since his arrival – barring the September 2nd fixture with Sheffield Wednesday for which he was not yet eligible – making three appearances during stoppage time versus Millwall, Watford and Bristol City.
Posed with the possibility of utilising Gruev more during this week’s fixtures against Stoke and Huddersfield, the Leeds boss said: “We have never done this [pair Ampadu with Gruev], I don't like to just say in a theoretical way yes or no. it’s always up to them to prove this once they play together.
"I have to say I’m really happy with Ilia, he came pretty late, without having a pre-season, really humble guy but with a good record, he’s played two years on Bundesliga level, a good level last season, more than 30 games, he’s a regular starter for Bulgaria, always in the starting line-up.
"I was definitely tempted to unleash him before because he was training at top level, but [we’ve had] really top performances by players in midfield, in his position.
"We have perhaps some areas where it would be perhaps even a bit easier [for him] to come into the game but as a coach in the heart of your game, you are not so tempted to change too much from game-to-game.
"Let’s be honest, players in his position; Ethan Ampadu has been outstanding, Archie [too] when he was in midfield was really good, Glen Kamara has had an impact in many games so it’s not the easiest area in our squad,” Farke added, sympathising with the Bulgarian.
Despite minimal involvement so far, Farke hinted towards a larger role for the defensive midfielder in the coming weeks, stating: “My gut feeling is that he will also play an important role in the upcoming games.
"We are happy that we have him because he's not just a good player but also a top, top teammate.”