Leeds United: Positive signs as the new season approaches – Whelan

Ronaldo Vieira in action against Atalanta.
Ronaldo Vieira in action against Atalanta.
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IT was a fantastic result for Leeds to beat Atalanta in Saturday’s final pre-season friendly at Elland Road.

Atalanta are a decent outfit from Serie A who will have provided a good test for the players.

I wasn’t at the game, sadly, but from reading on Twitter I gather Kemar Roofe had an excellent game and people are very excited about him being at Leeds United.

Any outfit that is in the top league of a country like Italy are a decent side. There’s no poor ones.

The Italians usually provide very good pre-season games because you know what you are going to get – they are very disciplined, organised, physical and they give you a really good test.

I think Leeds United and Garry Monk will be really pleased that the first game at Elland Road before the start of the season has produced a good performance and a win.

Everybody now is looking forward to Sunday and QPR and we are going into that game in high spirits.

Chris Wood got on the scoresheet again on Saturday and I think this has got to be the season where it all clicks for him – if he can stay clear of injury which was obviously a sticking point for him last season.

We saw the benefits of him coming back into the side last season on the back of the injury. He was missed.

People grumble about him but he is clinical in front of goal and he needs to be starting and playing every single week.

He is a boy that works from confidence, like every single striker out there but the way he finished the season last year, everybody was thinking ‘do you know what, he can get 20 goals a season in this side’.

I am sure that this season he is going to be very important for United.

Roofe, meanwhile, has settled in brilliantly, especially when you come from a club that is nowhere near as big as Leeds United. It can be daunting for a player.

But it just shows the mental strength of the young man that he has stepped in, he is embracing this change and loving playing for Leeds.

He’s now showing that he is a very exciting player and I can’t wait to watch him play next week against QPR.

There’s also been a lot of praise for Ronaldo Vieira and when I saw him at the end of last season I thought he was excellent when he came on.

I was really happy about him joining the Leeds squad last season because what I saw of him was very exciting. And we need that. We need those sort of players in the team that are going to get people off their seats, someone who is going to produce that little bit of magic and flair, and entertain us.

But we also need to see the defensive side of him. He has got that job to do as well and he’s got to be disciplined.

From what I saw of him last year when he came on, he looked a very attack-minded player.

But with that side of it you have also got to be switched on when you have not got the ball at your feet and you are out of possession that there’s then a defensive job that you have got to do.

You have got to work hard for your team and that goes for everybody.

In terms of what else we need, I would like to see more strikers, just so you have got cover.

Touch wood, there’s no injuries to any of the strikers but I still think we need another frontman there – three to choose from. It’s not just because I’m a striker – I just think it’s important that we have got cover there in that position.

I think we also need cover there in the centre-half position and there’s got to be more working on that centre-half pairing that we are going to start with. But strikers win you games.

We’ve also heard about the supposed interest of potential buyers of the club in China but, in terms of Massimo Cellino, every time a new season comes around it’s a new chance to win back some fans and change people’s minds.

Yes, last season wasn’t a great season for Mr Cellino but then you can start putting all of those negatives to one side with what he is doing starting work for this season.

He has put Garry Monk in place – a great addition to the club – and some of the players that we have bought have been fantastic like Roofe who is young and who is going to be there for a good long time at Elland Road hopefully and be a difference. In certain terms, yes, Cellino has won back some of the fans and people are feeling optimistic. But we always are.

Whether a Chinese consortium is planning to put an offer into the club, who knows?

But if they are then a decision is down to Mr Cellino and if he doesn’t want to sell then that’s up to him.

There’s always two sides to everything – there’s the fans that like him and there’s those who don’t.

He has brought some good things to the club such as paying off the debts etcetera and we can’t take that away. It’s not been easy.

But then also there’s been the other side of the coin where he has brought a lot of turmoil to the club off his own back and we don’t need that either.

We need a bit of stability, things to be going in the right direction and some positivity around the club.

Whether he stays or whether he goes, we’ve got to get behind the club and we’ve got to get behind Mr Cellino and the lads for the start of the season.

Liam Cooper

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