Leeds United: Encouraged by players linked with a move to Whites - Whelan

Ashley Fletcher
Ashley Fletcher
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LEEDS United are rumoured to be signing Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson and it’s whether we are getting him in as a first team partnership with Chris Wood or is it just to bolster the attacking options?

I don’t really know too much about the Swedish league, I don’t really know too much about him as a player but if the assistant manager has coached him before then he has obviously seen something in this boy which is worth taking a gamble on. I would think that the Championship is a lot, lot different and more challenging to score goals in than the Swedish league but at the end of the day you have still got to put the ball in the back of the net.

We are also interested in Ashley Fletcher at Manchester United and he’s an up and coming lad. He is highly rated by Man United themselves but it’s another one where they are all kind of gambles because they are kind of unknown to us at this minute. But you’ve got to start somewhere and sometimes these gambles can pay off. He’s probably been brought up the right way and with the right coaching and now it’s about him kicking his career off and what a great place to do it at Leeds United.

If he can stamp his authority on the Championship and keep a place there within the side, he could go on to be a really good acquisition for Leeds.

I know Man United have offered him a new deal and, for me, these sorts of decision are always difficult. You have been brought up through the system at a club and you’ve always got to back yourself and your own ability, knowing that, if you’ve been at a Man United or a Chelsea or an Arsenal, that you can break into the team and that you can get a place in that side. You have got to be confident about your own ability. But at the same time, you look at the manager there, Jose Mourinho, who has just come in and look at the striking options that they have got.

You look at Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming in as well so there is more competition and I am sure there will be more strikers signed.

So for Fletcher, he’s at that stage in his career in making a difficult decision which might happen to be leaving Man United. But, on the other hand, you are giving yourself more of an opportunity to create a career for yourself.

There’s also talk of Bournemouth’s Tommy Elphick and Oxford United’s Kemar Roofe and I think we definitely need another centre half – a no-nonsense centre half, one that’s vocal, a leader, and who is going to push people. And if Elphick is that centre half then fantastic because I think him and Liam Cooper could be a fantastic partnership.

I saw a really good side to Cooper last year which was a bit more of a leader type, a bit more aggression and a bit more no-nonsense which is what we need from the centre halfs.

We don’t really need them to be playing football, we need them to defend and that’s their job. Give the ball to the midfield players and let them go and do the football. Let them create the chances, let them make those passes. A lot of the times last season we made too many mistakes trying to play in the wrong areas and there’s a time and a place for that.

Kemar Roofe has been playing in League Two but sometimes you have got to take chances with these players; sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t.

But he scores a lot of goals, he seems a lad that has got the right attitude and who will work hard and maybe add something to the team that we don’t have and we do need to have options, there’s no doubt about that. Our squad is not strong enough.

But the good thing here is that we are looking at more British players than foreign players and I think that’s integral. I think that’s really important that these British players that we are looking at do know the score. League Two – yes, it might be two divisions below the Championship, but to be honest it’s a difficult one. They don’t play much football, you’ve got fight and we need fighters at the club.

We have also been linked with two goalkeepers in Lee Camp and Lee Grant and, as far as Marco Silvestri goes, I think everyone is replaceable, as long as you are bringing in someone that is going to improve it more than you have got.

That’s the only reason why you go out and look to replace somebody – are they going to give you something that the current player can’t?

I played with both of them at Derby County when I was there and they are both good ’keepers with lots of experience and loads of experience in the English divisions.

And as with Silvestri, we have seen the good and the bad with them.

But we definitely need bolstering in that goalkeeping area because we need someone that is going to talk more and someone that is going to command the area.

There’s so many good things about Silvestri but there’s a lot of the bad things which seem to kill us a little bit. We need more from the goalkeeper.

We should say also that it’s huge that Pep Clotet has come in as Garry Monk’s assistant. We know how important it is that a manager brings in their own and gets the assistance that he knows and trusts and they work together as a team.

That was integral to the deal and I think with the club giving Garry everything that he actually needs and covering all these bases that he needs to improve the team and get a job done, that’s great to see.

There has been many times where we have had managers that haven’t had the resources they need from the backroom staff. They are getting that part right. Now it’s about them getting the squad right and getting prepared for the start of the season.