'I came here for one thing' - Leeds United new boy Junior Firpo hungry for Premier League involvement

Junior Firpo says he is hungry for regular game time with Leeds United in the Premier League.

By Joe Urquhart
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 5:00 pm
Leeds United defender Junio Firpo in action at Blackburn Rovers. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United defender Junio Firpo in action at Blackburn Rovers. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Whites announced the capture of the former Barcelona full-back last month for around £13m plus add ons and handed their new number three a four-year contract in LS11.

Firpo had failed to break into the Nou Camp line-up on a regular basis following his switch from fellow La Liga outfit Real Betis in 2019.

Spain captain Jordi Alba held the starting berth at the Catalan club, with head coach Ronald Koeman only handing Firpo fleeting minutes in 18 games across all competitions last term.

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United moved swiftly to fill their left-back void after the departure of Gjanni Alioski this summer, beating away competition from the likes of Italian side AC Milan to the 24-year-old's signature.

Firpo has featured in two pre-season friendlies under Marcelo Bielsa so far, completing 45 minutes against both Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park and former side Betis at Loughborough University.

He bagged an assist for Patrick Bamford's opener in a 3-2 defeat against Manuel Pellegrini's men last weekend in Leicestershire and is already eyeing the new top flight term after being frustrated at a lack of game time in Spain during recent seasons.

Firpo, though, will be aiming for more match action in the Whites final two summer outings first to get up to speed with his new team-mates.

Leeds travel to face arch rivals Manchester United on August 14 at Old Trafford to kick off the 2020/21 Premier League campaign - but before then will take on Dutch giants Ajax tonight in Amsterdam ahead of a final friendly clash with reigning Europa League champions Villarreal on Saturday evening.

"I only have to say to them that I will give my all," Firpo told Sky Sports over what Elland Road supporters can expect from him in the upcoming year.

"I need to play. I am really, really hungry to play here [at Leeds].

"They can expect me to give my all in the games and the rest we can see. I am really hungry to play. I came here for one thing [to play]. I think they [the club] are also hungry for the way that I can play.

"If you mix both [together], then it'll be really good."

Firpo has had his first introduction to a Bielsa pre-season regime this summer following his arrival in July.

Those at Elland Road who are more versed in the Argentine's ways - namely Bamford, Mateusz Klich and club captain Liam Cooper - have been vocal in saying it is among the toughest they have faced since the 66-year-old took charge in West Yorkshire.

Behind closed doors at Thorp Arch there has been a lot of running and fitness work for the Leeds squad while 'murderball' has been in full flow.

"I feel good, it's a little bit hard," Firpo said of the Thorp Arch preparation.

"It's really physical and [we're] doing a lot of training sessions. It's good. The real thing is my team-mates have given me a warm welcome. It's made it easy."