Leeds United hero makes Whites' prediction for next season and hails Elland Road trio

Whites hero Jermaine Beckford has no qualms with being bored next season.

By Lee Sobot
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 3:35 pm

Just as long as Leeds United remain in the Premier League for a third year running, something the former striker star believes his former side are well on track to achieving.

Twelve years have passed since Beckford last stepped out for Leeds and the forward's final goal for the club in the 2-1 win at home to Bristol Rovers in May 2010 was responsible for ending three years in the doldrums of English football's third tier.

Leeds then took another decade to climb out of the Championship and regain their status as a Premier League side which Beckford says has to remain the chief goal next season, in whichever fashion that is achieved.

BUILDING: Leeds United director of football Victor Orta, left, hails Whites head coach Jesse Marsch, centre, after the final day survival at Brentford. Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images.

The former Whites star only hopes that next term is a rather less stressful time than the 2021-22 campaign in which Jesse Marsch's side only secured their top-flight status on the final day of the season with a 2-1 win at Brentford as Burnley blew their lines in a 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle United.

It ultimately meant a 17th-placed finish and with a view to the future, Beckford says first and foremost Leeds need to ensure they once again finish above the dreaded dotted line.

With a trio of summer signings already landed, the ex Whites star is confident his former side will make that happen.

"I'm quite happy having a boring season and finishing 14th, 15th, 16th - 14th or 15th I would be happy with," Beckford told the YEP.

"Avoiding relegation and not getting pulled into a scrap is ultimately the goal, another season in the Premier League.

"This is our third season in the Premier League now so if we are able to do that again for one more season then we can start looking forward to the future and really building something for the next couple of years.

"Those foundations and buildings for the next few years, that's exactly what the initial plan was and we are on track to making that a thing."

Leeds were one goal away from going down until Jack Harrison's late winner at Brentford but the Whites then wasted no time in preparing for next term.

United announced the deal to sign 21-year-old USA international midfielder Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg for £25m just four days after their final day for survival and the capture of the American was swiftly followed by a move for Aaronson's former Salburg team mate Rasmus Kristensen.

The 24-year-old Danish international right back is joining the Whites for £10m and Leeds then secured their third signing of the summer on Friday afternoon in the shape of 25-year-old Spanish midfielder Marc Roca from Bayern Munich for around £10m.

Leeds are also in the market for another striker and Beckford has given United's approach to the summer window under a huge thumbs up under chairman Andrea Radrizzani, chief executive Angus Kinnear and director of football Victor Orta.

"I think they have been brilliant signings to be honest," said Beckford.

"I think they have been great signings and it doesn't show any signs of slowing down either.

"We all know that last season and the season before that we have had very thin squads, with quality but very thin.

"We have paid the price for having a thin squad with all the injuries and suspensions that we picked up towards the latter part of the season especially and that is an area or areas that definitely needed addressing.

"The thing that I like the most is that we are not wasting any time with the acquisition of these players, we are going out with Victor Orta and Angus Kinnear and Andrea Radrizzani who have been really really busy in the transfer market trying to get deals done early so that you don't get caught up in a bidding war for certain players.

"I think it's been brilliant.

"It shows confidence in the manager and an understanding of the squad and the areas that need reinforcing. I think it's been brilliant."

The third season back in the Premier League will begin with a home clash against Wolves on Saturday, August 6 and Beckford says it is vital that United's season mirrors their approach to the summer in terms of getting what they need early doors.

One feature of United's 2022-23 fixture list is a particularly hard final month which sees a visit to defending champions Manchester City followed by a home clash against Newcastle United and a trip to West Ham before a date against Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road on the final day.

"All that says to me is that we are going to have to wrap it up nice and early," reasoned Beckford.

"We don't want to be relying upon the last couple of games of the season, similar to last season.

"As a neutral football fan it's not good on your nerves if I am honest with you.

"I had a torrid time, as I am sure every Leeds United fan did.

"But going into those games you look at them and say 'by this point we want to be over the 40/42 point mark.'

"That way, any points we pick up along the way in those last four games will be an added bonus and we will be safe and dry by then."