Jon Newsome joins calls for Leeds United duo Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah to start together

JON NEWSOME knew a thing or two about playing Leeds United centre-half.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 6:00 am
PLAY HIM: Former defender Jon Newsome believes Leeds United's prospects would improve if starting Eddie Nketiah, above, and fellow striker Patrick Bamford together. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Twenty seven years after helping the Whites become champions of England, the 49-year-old is highly impressed with the club's 2019 central defensive axis, describing Brighton loanee Ben White as a "revelation."

Now the former Whites defender only wants to see one big change at the other end of the pitch with the 49-year-old longing to see strikers Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah starting together.

Defensively, Newsome has been thrilled to see a new partnership quickly blossom at Leeds in the positions that he himself filled at the club between 1991 and 1994.

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Cooper and White have helped Leeds to the division's best defensive record after 14 games played with only eight goals conceded but Newsome knows it is the conversion of just 17 goals at the other end that has United sat fourth and not top just over a quarter of the way through the new campaign.

Barely over a goal a game and the Whites were unable to make any breakthrough in Saturday's goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday, a contest for which Newsome was left somewhat sitting on the fence having played for both sides.

A draw, he said, would have been his perfect result but wins are now needed for the Whites to fulfil their aim of kicking on in the division's automatic promotion spots and Newsome believes playing strikers Bamford and Nketiah together would give Marcelo Bielsa's men the best chance of fulfilling that goal.

Bamford and Arsenal loanee Nketiah are still yet to start a league game together with Bielsa continually playing one upfront and Newsome told the YEP: "The way that Leeds play, they create plenty of chances. I don't think they are all clear cut chances but I think they create a lot of half chances.

"They dominate possession in the middle of the park because they have numbers in there but they don't hit the back of the net and that's really been their Achilles heel.

"I think they have tightened up a little bit at the back, they look to be a little bit stronger defensively but it is quite apparent that they don't score enough goals and there's this issue between Bamford and Nketiah.

"I know Eddie came on against Preston last Tuesday and scored but then I was at the Birmingham game last Saturday when he took Bamford off and put Nketiah on at half time but I felt we lost a bit of the physical side of it. We lost some of the work that Bamford does.

"Like everybody else, I'd like to see them play together but whether that is going to happen under Bielsa or not we have to wait to see."

Newsome was present at the Birmingham contest as part of the celebrations of the club's centenary with the Whites hoping 100 years of Leeds United can be capped in the ultimate style with a return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

United's outstanding defensive record so far is providing Leeds with the perfect platform from which to build on and Newsome has been blown away by the impression made by summer recruit and Brighton loanee White.

"I think he's been a revelation," said Newsome of White.

"I think he's excellent. I like him. He is great on the ball, he sees it, he communicates, he defends well, he organises people and I think he's an honest and genuine lad from what I have seen.

"The difficult part is that he is only on loan and the better that he plays for us the more people become interested in him and it's a bit of a catch 22 situation.

"You want him to play really well for Leeds but you don't want him to play that well because you don't want anybody else interested in him either so it's a really difficult one but I have been massively impressed by him."

Having only just turned 22, Newsome knows White is going to be in high demand and after a recent change in day jobs, the cut and thrust of football dealings is now once again filling Newsome's time.

After retiring in 2000, Newsome then became the owner of a Sheffield-based car sales company but the 49-year-old is now back involved with the beautiful game through his Innov8 Sports Management firm though the former defender will leave the management side of things to Bielsa and co.

Newsome explained: "I've finished with the motor trading and I have gone back into football so I am working as an agent at the moment and thoroughly enjoying being involved in the game and being back around it more than I was previously. It's fun, it's great.

"I did all my coaching badges some 17-18 years ago and I came out of football for family reasons really and now the kids have grown up,now was my opportunity to try and get back into football in some capacity.

"But going into coaching and the management route would have been starting at the bottom again and we don't get any younger do we?"