Leeds United: I wouldn’t blame Sam if he wanted to move on – Ritchie

Sam Byram.
Sam Byram.
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LOOKING at the situation with Sam Byram at Leeds United, it’s got to be in his mind about finding somewhere with a bit of stability and I wouldn’t blame him for that.

The fans won’t be pleased with the situation if he does decide to leave as they want players to be loyal. But surely even the most diehard Leeds fans must think that they could not really blame him if he wanted to leave and get some stability in his life.

I understand what Steve Evans is saying about wanting Sam to be committed. He’s one of the better players, but equally you understand Sam wanting a bit of stability, given the number of managers who he has played under at the club already.

He’s done a fair bit in his career. He broke into the team and had a real breakthrough season, then got a bad injury. Then there was the bid from Southampton and he went onto suffer from a lack of form after coming back from injury too early and then there’s all what has happened this season.

His next step is a massive, massive decision and he obviously needs time to make that. He’s a Leeds fan and is playing for the club he supports and it will be a wrench if he does leave.

Lots of friends and family and all those around him will have their say, but the decision has got to be his.

It’s not his agent’s decision either and whoever he thinks might be his friends, it’s his. Too many players don’t make decisions for themselves these days.

He’s got to think about things long and hard and he can’t be forced into a decision either. It’s a big decision for Sam.

He will also be hurting at the moment because he wants to play and help the team and a lot of things will be going on.

For Sam, the wage demands could well not be the main thing for him. It might just be finding stability and feeling comfortable in that respect and his fears being eased. The president has had his say and it’s a bit of a difficult situation for all concerned really.

Obviously, we’ve had the fall-out this week from one national report suggesting that all the Leeds players were up for sale, which Steve has dismissed as drivel.

What I would say is that every single player at every single football club is ‘for sale’ these days. Money talks; look at Messi and Ronaldo, there’s even speculation that they could move – they may even go if a price tag is reached. If someone met that, they would be gone, no doubt about it.

Players have to put all that ‘for sale’ stuff at the back of their minds. Someone comes in for a player, the offer is good and the club want to take it, that’s the way football works. At any time.

It’s not necessarily to do with whether they don’t want you. Clubs look at the bigger picture – and at the moment there’s obviously January coming up.

Certainly, Leeds will be looking for players to come in during January. They need some new blood definitely. There’s no doubt that they need one goalscoring striker at least – but that costs money. There’s some difficult conundrums for Steve to currently work out.

On the outward front, the likes of Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt will be coveted and Leeds might have to make a decision or two in January, that’s football. If the club want players to stay, they have got to do as much as they can to do that.

Looking at Leeds’ season, it’s delicately positioned. They need some wins quickly, no doubt about that. They obviously need stability regarding the coach as well; let’s face it, Steve has still only really been here two minutes, hasn’t he, and he will still be working with his players to get them into the system he wants and he hasn’t had a window yet.

Leeds are only four points – a win and a draw – off the bottom three as it stands.

Some teams at the bottom around them maybe wouldn’t have thought Leeds would be there, but they are along with teams like Nottingham Forest.

It’s certainly been a challenging season; one that we thought would be a little bit different at the start, that’s for sure.

They need to get a win or two, the sooner the better really.