Leeds United: Adryan is urged to prove himself

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Neil Redfearn says he will not bow to external pressure to reinvolve Adryan in Leeds United’s season, insisting the Brazilian needs to “start playing well” to justify a recall.

Redfearn left the door open to Adryan after Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Reading but said a team minus the 20-year-old was being chosen “on merit” and “looked like a side, rather than individuals.”

Adryan has been sidelined from United’s Championship term for a month-and-a-half, dropped by Redfearn after his appearance in an FA Cup tie against Sunderland on January 4, and he failed to make the squad at Reading despite a spate of absentees and a bench featuring four strikers.

The midfielder – midway through a season-long loan from Flamengo – played instead in a development squad game at Sheffield United yesterday, completing 90 minutes as Leeds’ Under-21s lost 2-1.

Redfearn admitted last month that Adryan “needs time” to adapt to English football, saying the youngster could be “a big player for this club in the future.” Leeds, however, have taken three wins and two draws from a run of six league matches without Adryan and their head coach turned to alternative options at Reading, giving fresh chances to Casper Sloth and Tommaso Bianchi.

Second-half goals from Luke Murphy and Sam Byram sealed a deserved victory, moving United up to 17th in the Championship.

The Elland Road club meet Millwall on Saturday but Redfearn indicated that he would resist public clamour for Adryan to return to the fold.

“He’s got to start playing well to get in,” Redfearn said. “It’s that simple. He’s got to do well and play well. What’s happening here now is that everyone realises you’ve got to compete and play well to be in our squad. We’ve been striving for that for the last two or three months and it’s the only way you make your team and your club better.

“The lads who were on the bench (on Tuesday) have worked really hard in training and if you look at our performances, we’ve rejuvenated some players. We look like a side, rather than individuals, and we look like a team who’ll compete.” Asked if he felt his side was being chosen on merit, Redfearn said: “Definitely.

“But that doesn’t mean to say Adryan’s out of the picture. He’s just got to do a bit more. He needs to do well and if he does well, he’ll get his chance again.”

Sloth played for an hour at the Madejski Stadium after replacing the injured Bianchi as a substitute, the Dane’s first extended appearance in a Championship fixture for a month.

The midfielder has spoken repeatedly in the Danish press about his frustration over his lack of chances at Leeds but he caught the eye on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old is looking to retain his place against Millwall and make only his second league start since early October.

“When I came here I played in the first games and I was happy with my performances,” Sloth said. “We got some results as well but then I was out of the team, which is how it is in football sometimes. But of course I want to play every game and I do my best when I get the chance.”