Eddie Gray backing Leeds United to make Premier League leap ahead of Liverpool opener

The Whites legend has backed Marcelo Bielsa's side to adjust to their new surrounds.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 4:45 pm

Leeds United legend Eddie Gray believes the club are well equipped to compete amongst the Premier League ‘big boys’ this season.

The Whites ended a 16-year exile from the top flight last month after Marcelo Bielsa guided the club to the Championship title at the second attempt.

United’s new campaign – which is set to kick off on the weekend of September 12 – will be the first since 2004, when Leeds suffered relegation under Gray’s watch as he took caretaker charge late in the season.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds United legend Eddie Gray. (Simon Hulme)

The Elland Road club have now ended their Football League nightmare after years of off-field uncertainty amid financial chaos.

Leeds will be looking to consolidate their position after an historic achievement in LS11 and are looking to use continuity to their advantage this summer ahead of their assault on the new term.

United are still searching to add what chief executive Angus Kinnear says will be ‘three or four players of quality’ in the transfer window to complement Bielsa’s first-team squad.

Gray, though, thinks that the approach is the right one with a swift turnaround between the two seasons.

“I think they’ll be equipped to compete in the Premier League,” he said.

“I’m not saying they’ll be challenging for anything next season, but I think they should feel quite comfortable in themselves that they can finish in mid-table, top-half of the table.

“I’m looking forward to it and I think Marcelo Bielsa will be looking forward to pitting his wits against Jurgen Klopp.”

Leeds have been handed a tough trip on the opening day as they visit to reigning Premier League champions Liverpool.

Gray reflected on renewing rivalries with a team he knows well. “There were some good moments in the games over the years between the two clubs,” he added.

“From the Leeds United point of view, winning the club’s first league championship and it actually happening at Anfield stands out.

“Don Revie told us to go and march towards the Kop and take the applause from the Kop.

“We thought he must be crazy, but we did and they all started chanting as we were walking closer and closer, ‘Champions’, so that was a great moment.”

A meeting between the two sides in the 1974 Charity Shield also sticks out as a memory that he will never forget.

“I remember Billy getting a crack from Kevin Keegan and it was actually nothing to do with Billy," he said.

“I think Kevin Keegan thought that Billy had fouled him, but actually it wasn’t Billy, it was Johnny (Giles) who had, but Billy got the brunt of it from Kevin and a little scrap happened and the two of them were sent off.

“You used to get quite a lot of skirmishes in those days. That was how the game was played then. There was no quarter asked or given, that was the type of game it was.”