Thomas Christiansen wants goalkeeper Rob Green to stay at Leeds United and fight for a place after installing Felix Wiedwald as first choice ahead of the former England international.
Christiansen said he expected Green to “compete for the first position” following his decision to start summer-signing Wiedwald on the first weekend of the season at Bolton Wanderers.
Wiedwald’s £500,000 arrival from Werder Bremen in June cast immediate doubt on the keeper’s position at Leeds, despite Green holding down a place throughout last season.
The 37-year-old was ever-present in the Championship under Christiansen’s predecessor, Garry Monk, but looks set to be employed as a substitute in the early stages of this term.
Green missed Wednesday’s League Cup victory over Port Vale with a knee injury, a game he was expected to start ahead of Wiedwald, and will sit out of today’s clash with Preston North End but could return to the squad for Tuesday’s game against Fulham.
Christiansen admitted he was conscious of Green’s age and his need to play in the twilight of his career but insisted he wanted Green, whose contract runs to next summer, to remain with Leeds beyond the end of the transfer window.
“He’s a very important player, an experienced player,” Christiansen said. “I took my decision in the beginning, in the first game, to put Felix in goal but I want (Green) to compete and to fight for the first position.
“There’s not a big difference between them. It’s a choice that I’ve taken and this is why I expect Rob to compete and fight. Everyone wants to play. I can understand it and I also know his age, that it’s one of his last years and he needs to play, but what I need from him is that he fights for that situation.”
Sunderland and Middlesbrough were monitoring Green earlier in the transfer window after Wiedwald’s arrival but both clubs recruited new keepers ahead of the start of the season.
His exit from Elland Road would leave 20-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell as the only cover from Wiedwald and he was on the bench for the midweek win over Port Vale.
Peacock-Farrell, who was named on the bench in Green’s absence against Port Vale in midweek, was close to a loan move to Oldham Athletic last month but looks set to stay at Leeds following the departure of Marco Silvestri to Italian club Hellas Verona.