United captain Liam Bridcutt lines up against former club Brighton at Elland Road tomorrow night, but says there is only one club he wants to play for now – and even for the rest of his career. Lee Sobot reports.
LIAM BRIDCUTT will face the side he has been most familiar with at Elland Road this weekend.
Three and a half years at Brighton yielded 151 appearances, two goals, two player of the season awards and promotion from League One.
Good times and good memories – but no regrets about leaving for a midfielder who would now be happy to see out his whole career at new love Leeds.
Bridcutt will again captain United in the club’s latest Championship assignment at Elland Road on Saturday evening which will come against the 27-year-old’s former employers between August 2010 and January 2014.
The midfielder joined Brighton from first club Chelsea –where Bridcutt failed to make an appearance – but it was the move to the Seagulls that ultimately provided Bridcutt with the platform to perform in the Premier.
After continually impressing for the south coast side, Bridcutt left Brighton for Sunderland – the club that initially loaned the midfielder to Leeds United in November 2015.
That move was made permanent last August with defensive midfielder Bridcutt now nearing his 50th game for the Whites.
Still over 100 games short of the amount Bridcutt made for Brighton but if the Reading-born footballer has his way that could eventually change
Asked if he had any regrets on leaving Brighton for Sunderland in January 2014, Bridcutt admitted: “Not really. For me, it was an opportunity to play Premier League football so it was a decision I made and hopefully it was the right decision.
“It gave me experience to go and play in the Premier League and otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been where I am nowy.
“I’m pleased, I think things happen for a reason and that’s the reason why I am here now.
“I have very good memories of Brighton.
“The club probably kick -started my career and I started making a name for myself.
“It’s a club that I loved playing for and I place I enjoy going back to.”
Asked how long he could see his Leeds journey lasting, Bridcutt added: “I’m massively happy at Leeds.
“I’d love to stay at this club as long as I can and I would be happy to finish my career here.
“But that’s down to the powers that be and the president and the owners, really.”
Bridcutt’s current deal lasts until the summer of 2018 but it is the next nine or even potentially 12 games that will determine which division the midfielder and his club are in next term.
The Whites captain says United have already performed wonders by getting themselves to fourth in the table – but the club’s skipper is now dreaming of finishing the job, with promotion back to the top flight.
Bridcutt reasoned: “I think at this stage in the season, I think what we have achieved has been incredible in terms of our performances and how much the club has changed over the last year.
“And a lot of that is down to the manager and the players in terms of our mentality and what we want to do.
“If I can lead this club to the Premier League it would be a massive achievement for me and it would be an amazing feeling for me.”
Success, though, has actually come as no surprise to Bridcutt, who knew Leeds were in for a good season thanks to the changes last summer.
“When I first came in here there was a lot of issues going on,” said Bridcutt
“Obviously, there was the transition of managers and things like that but I knew in the summer when Garry came in, I knew that the club was on the up.
“They made that statement by signing such a good manager and I think he has made the statement by signing the players that he has and looking in the right direction.
“For me, Garry can only get better.
“I think from what he has done for this club has been amazing and he’s still two or three years into his managerial career and he’s achieved what he has.
“I think he is going to go on to have a brilliant career as a manager.”
Looking ahead to the task in hand to beat his old club, Bridcutt reasoned: “Brighton is going to be probably one of the biggest games of the season for us.
“And I think every game from now until the end of the season is going to be a massive game.
“It’s as long as we are focused and ready.
“We have worked hard this week and the manager has obviously got the knowledge to pass on through the lads.
“We are ready to go.”