PLAYING a good team such as Manchester United in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly is a bit of a barometer of how far Leeds United have to go.
Leeds could have thought they would nestle in amongst the Premier League teams and take to it like a duck to water and then you have got Manchester United fans that were all doom and gloom and thinking that their club was going to the dogs.
But Wednesday’s friendly goes to show the vast gasp that is still there between the two sides - one aspiring Championship side looking to get back in the Premier League and a giant that is meandering its way through a bit of a murky part of its history.
But let’s be honest, the two clubs are universes apart and I don’t think there is any disgrace in getting well beaten by a Manchester United side that might not be the Manchester United of old but they are still a Manchester United that are in the Premier League with players that have won the World Cup.
Considering some of Leeds’ internationals and new signings were back at Thorp Arch doing fitness work, to have got anything from Wednesday’s game would have been miraculous.
But the game would have been good for Leeds from a good run out and fitness point of view and the fact that Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa flew out to watch the game and is staying until the end of the Australian tour and Saturday’s friendly against Western Sydney Wanderers is also positive.
I don’t think you can read too much into the result of performance by any stretch of the imagination.
It would have made a nice headline on paper, ‘Leeds United beat Manchester United’ but it would have been miraculous if it happened and it just becomes another tick in the box of that road back to match fitness which is imperative come that first match of the season.
Leeds managing director Angus Kinnear revealed in Australia that talks are still ongoing with Kalvin Phillips about a new contract for the midfielder and I have said before about how much of an important player Kalvin is.
But looking at the striker situation at the club, there is also the fact that Kemar Roofe is out of contract next summer.
I understand that Roofe wants parity with Patrick Bamford’s wage and in football we deal with the immediacy and with what is right in front of your face.
Bamford has scored a hatful of goals at this level, he’s got Premier League experience and he has played for some big clubs.
Kemar, with the greatest respect, has really cemented himself at this level in the last couple of seasons and last season brought a quantum leap in his effects on the football pitch.
That came about because of the manager but also you can’t take away the approach, will and desire of a player.
Kemar has done exactly what has been asked of him, as and when he has had the chance, injuries permitting.
Kemar's team will probably be saying, ‘look at what he has done, look how close he got you with his goals and I absolutely understand that.’
With Patrick, you could say has played here there and a few other places, he’s got experience of this, that and the other he has scored this amount of goals and he has got this amount of appearances under his belt.
Yet if you stand still the grass grows under your feet and that’s why Patrick has got to kick himself on this season.
Patrick has got to make sure that he is a bit more effective, that he contributes more towards what the team does and be that player that him and Kemar with the best professional respect are at each other’s throats to be that lone striker who plays in that position. It’s a fine line.
Maybe bringing Kemar on level terms with Patrick means that Kemar can kick on again.
You never know, he might think ‘sod it, I have got the wage packet and now I want to back it up with even more goals.’
I don’t envy the task of whoever has to bash out the deal but I also think it would be remiss of Leeds not to reward him.
I mean with this the greatest respect to both of those footballers but you don’t have to have five seasons of consistency under your belt now to get a new contract because one season can make or break a player.
Look at Chris Wood, he had a lot of seasons under his belt but the minute he is top scorer in the Championship he gets a move to the Premier League.
It happens right here right now.
I think Kemar needs rewarding for what he has done and as ever with contracts, you have got to incentivise young players to be better.
As much as we laud the biggest teams in the world and the most successful players and teams in the Premier League, they are still incentivised, I don’t care what the motivation is.
They are still motivated to be better and that’s what Leeds need to do with this group of boys.
They need to say ‘well done lads, you have done great and everyone is blowing smoke up your behind but the bottom line is we didn’t get promoted and we didn’t win anything so here’s a nice little carrot, go again and you never know what is at the end.’