AHEAD of Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen’s first press conference of the new Championship season, the YEP’s Lee Sobot looks at a few key issues the Whites head coach will be asked to address.
Who will be captain?
Liam Bridcutt ended the previous season as club captain but the midfielder had an inconsistent campaign and was never really a guaranteed starter given United’s options in midfield. With Mateusz Klich now providing yet another option, Bridcutt could be further down the pecking order and there must be big doubts as to whether he will retain the captaincy this year. Liam Cooper is essentially the club’s current vice-captain but he too cannot be considered a guaranteed starter given that he is likely behind Pontus Jansson and Matthew Pennington in the centre-back order. Christiansen must be tempted to appoint a new captain - a player that is definitely going to start each game - and Jansson, Chris Wood and the rejuvenated Eunan O’Kane appear the most likely candidates.
Are further signings close?
Christiansen did not give much away when asked about remaining transfer targets after last weekend’s friendly against Oxford, admitting only “we are looking, put it like that.” But it will be interesting to see if the head coach can provide a more detailed update, especially with Leeds considering a loan move for Manchester United left back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. United undeniably need another left back following Charlie Taylor’s summer switch to Burnley while Jansson, Pennington and Cooper remain the club’s only three natural centre-backs, for all that Luke Ayling and Conor Shaughnessy can fulfil roles there too. The club are also known to be on the search for another striker after their bid to land Ashley Fletcher disappeared down the plughole when the forward signed for Middlesbrough. Three more arrivals - a left back, centre back and forward - look in need.
Are there any issues with Ronaldo Vieira?
Vieira burst on the scene in a huge way last season, emerging as one of United’s biggest talents, but the 19-year-old strangely did not feature at all in the club’s final pre-season friendly against Oxford. Christiansen also revealed after the game that his squad were carrying no injuries. Perhaps Vieira was merely rested as the teenager has had a very busy summer with England under-19s whom the midfielder helped win the Toulon Tournament, including by netting the winning penalty in the final’s shoot out against the Ivory Coast. Christiansen will also hopefully be able to provide an update on the fitness of Klich who returned to the side in the second half against Oxford after a muscle injury. The Pole will be pushing for a start against Oxford.