David Prutton: Trust Marcelo Bielsa to fill void left by replaceable Pontus Jansson

PONTUS JANSSON is 28, he’s an international footballer and he’s played a decent couple of seasons in the Championship.

Sunday, 14th July 2019, 4:58 pm
END OF AN ERA: For Pontus Jansson.

He’s prone to being erratic and has an emotional side to his game.

I’m not saying Marcelo Bielsa is after robots but he wants very well drilled foot soldiers within a very rigid but expansive framework and I think he needs his team to be cool, calm and collected in the way that they play because they expend so much energy.

From the point of view of what he might have seen at certain times from Pontus, maybe the decision to let him leave wasn’t too much of a wrench for Bielsa.

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I think from Leeds’ point of view, I think Pontus was a player that added a lot of character and a lot of personality.

He was a galvanising kind of lightning rod in certain instances and then there were other certain games where Leeds needed him and he perhaps wasn’t actually there.

I think he will go down as a player that Leeds fans will remember fondly but another filed under the banner of what if.

I think a fee of £5.5m is decent enough money for him and I don’t quite know if many other teams would have paid any more than that.

It’s not like you are buying potential like with Jack Clarke.

Pontus is relatively proven at Championship level and I will be intrigued to see if he suits Brentford’s style of play.

I know they want to play out from the back and I know he is decent enough on the ball but he’s not the be all and end all as a ball-playing centre half in the Championship so that will be intriguing to see.

And if people are saying that Leeds are letting him go for a bit of a snip then show me who else was interested.

If it was only Brentford then with the greatest of respect to Brentford then if they mount a promotion push then there will be no expectation level there.

In terms of replacing Pontus, whatever signing and whatever transfer you make is always a risk anyway.

If you go back to the most important part of Leeds’ season which was in the play-offs then Leeds looked to a player in Kiko Casilla who had won the Champions League and played at the highest level with one of the biggest teams in Europe in Real Madrid and fundamentally he was the one who let them down.

So a big name with a storied CV doesn’t necessarily mean everything.

Over a course of a season, yes, they will get you more points then they will lose you but who’s to say that Ben White won’t come in and take to it like a duck to water or even young Pascal Struijk.

Bielsa is putting young kids in that he knows a lot about and he has seen a lot about and heard a lot about.

They might be untried at a certain level but he will know exactly what they are capable of and I think you have got to be trusting of the players that he brings in.

I think the dynamic of the team going forward has been enhanced with the players that he has bought in.

I’m not saying it’s a case of just outscore the opposition and forget the defence but I think there’s more than enough in the defensive make up and the permutations of who could possibly play as a pairing in the middle of the defence and around them to think that is covered.

I understand the other side of it and Pontus played himself into a position of real importance but the opportunity is now there for another player to do the same thing.

Leeds got their pre-season friendlies underway this week with the wins against York City and Guiseley and it’s always good to get things up and running.

Leeds have now flown out to Australia for their pre-season tour and it’s PR and it’s money. I understand that.

The furthest we went on a pre-season trip in my experience was Florida when we went to Miami when I was playing at Nottingham Forest.

Firstly it was boiling, secondly it was the rainy season and thirdly it was miles away and Australia is also quite obviously miles away as well.

You have got to get over the jet lag and you have got to acclimatise to not just heat but the close humidity.

I don’t know if it’s akin to altitude training but I can’t remember it standing us in any better stead than going to Ireland or Austria or somewhere like that.

Leeds are there for just over a week and even if you are going there for a holiday, basically pitching up and relaxing for a week, it’s a very long way to go.

They will have two or three days to get over the jet lag on the way out and two or three days on the way back.

Pre-season is obviously about playing games and working your fitness back up to a certain level but I am sure you can do that in continental Europe or even somewhere close to the British Isles.

I understand there is money to be made and the game against Manchester United will certainly get the fans salivating who have gone out there or for the ones that are in the vicinity that could go and watch it.

It just strikes me as a very long way to go, but money talks at that level and at football clubs and I can fully understand that.

But looking at it from a player’s point of view it is not necessarily needed at such an important and critical time – which pre-season certainly is.