Billy Sharp’s Leeds United future was cast in further doubt last night after he was left out of the club’s friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Head coach Uwe Rosler declined to comment on the reasons for the striker’s omission, saying he “took him out of the group” but denying that Sharp was no longer part of his plans.
The 29-year-old, who has been linked with a transfer to Sheffield United throughout the summer, trained in preparation for last night’s game in Austria and was not suffering from injury.
He attended the game at Eugendorf near Salzburg and sat on the bench throughout a 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt.
Sharp’s name appeared to have been included on United’s teamsheet before being crossed off.
Asked if Sharp was carrying an injury, Rosler said: “No, he’s got no problem. We took him out of the group.”
United’s boss refused to elaborate but said: “I think every player who is here at the training camp has a role to play with Leeds United.”
Sharp was part of the 25-man party who travelled on tour to Austria last week and he will go to Norway with Leeds for Saturday’s friendly against Hoffenheim.
Rosler, however, has admitted that he has an excess of strikers in his squad and Sheffield United are one of a number of clubs who want to take Sharp from Elland Road.
Leeds paid around £600,000 to land Sharp on a two-year deal from Southampton last summer but he had a difficult first season in West Yorkshire, limited in his appearances and scoring only five goals.
United have signed two new strikers in the past two months, including a £3m deal for Chris Wood, and Rosler has chosen to start Steve Morison in the past two games while Wood nursed a minor hamstring problem.
Wood missed yesterday’s defeat but trained on the morning of the game
and is being pencilled in for the Hoffenheim clash.
Rosler said: “Chris Wood trained this morning and he’ll train again tomorrow. We’ll take it from there, day to day, but I’d be optimistic.”
Frankfurt - ninth in the German Bundesliga last season - fought back from a first-half goal from Morison to win last night’s friendly through replies from Johannes Flum and Stefan Reinartz.
A satisfied Rosler said: “Every player who started or came on wanted to play well and impress. There were a lot of good performances and I would highlight the work ethic.”