Leeds United Q and A - Jean-Kevin Augustin, Marcelo Bielsa's future, transfer rumours and promotion prospects

Leeds United fans have sent us hundreds of questions on team selection, Jean-Kevin Augustin, promotion hopes and the future for Marcelo Bielsa.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 4:39 pm
STAYING? Marcelo Bielsa's future is one of the biggest questions for Leeds United fans as they head into the Championship run-in.

The head coach remaining in position is one of Whites' supporters greatest concerns, regardless of how the season ends up, but they have plenty of other issues on their minds.

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Leeds United Q and A

Last updated: Monday, 06 July, 2020, 12:18

  • Leeds are 10 points from promotion after Saturday’s win in Blackburn

@LeedsTransLad: Hello Graham. My question to you is, can you see the teams around us slipping up before the season is out?

I could see everyone slipping up again before the season is out. Rule nothing out in the Championship. Leeds are a prime example. They were expected to come back with a bang and yet the Cardiff display was underwhelming. The Fulham game was as high pressure as it gets and Leeds tore them apart on the counter attack, thanks in large part to Pablo Hernandez. Luton at home, a much changed Luton at that, was on paper a home banker and yet…

@Jake_Horwood93: Hey Graham, what has Bielsa said regarding Kiko, is there any plans to keep him after he’s served his ban?

Bielsa has been light on detail with most issues. It seems to me he’s trying not to let anything distract from the task at hand and he’s fully focused on the team he has available to him right now, so a question about Kiko Casilla would receive fairly short shrift at the minute. Personally I think Meslier stays between the posts unless disaster strikes.

@cmcm52irfc: Hope you’re well. Is there anyone the club are planning to move on IF (don’t want to tempt fate) we go up? Until Saturday I was sceptical of Barry Douglas’ place in the squad but he was superb against Blackburn.

Douglas was indeed very good on Saturday, particularly given his lack of opportunities and the niggles that have plagued him this season. I think if Leeds were planning to shift players on, they’d be foolish to let that information leak out at a time when everyone is needed to finish the job. Nothing would be more demotivating for a player than learning his efforts to get the team promoted would be rewarded with a goodbye. I could well see a couple of departures this summer, Casilla the most obvious perhaps.

@JonnyWeare: Hi Graham, what was the crack with JKA because he seemed in good shape and up for it? Did he pick up an injury and would be out for the rest of the season which is why we sent him back, or was his attitude wrong and Bielsa just didn’t want to involve him?

Augustin was said to be back to full fitness in April, but that was full fitness training on his own, not full ‘murderball’ fitness. It would appear that the lack of Under 23s games in which to get fully fit and an inability to reach the fitness Bielsa required, has taken him out of the equation. We know how Bielsa works and what he needs to see, before a player will be considered, but other managers would have kept JKA on the bench for the final minutes of games when a goal was needed. When you hire Bielsa, you have to accept his methods and you have to trust him. Augustin might well decide to put his side across at some stage but until then we have to accept that he simply wasn’t going to play for Bielsa again this season and that is why the loan wasn’t extended. 

@AJNolan89: Hi Graham, tough question this, player of the year in your opinion?

I know I’m supposed to revert to type and say Stuart Dallas, the paragon of consistency, but I’m very close to handing Ben White the award. Maybe that’s because he was so good against Blackburn and therefore prevalent in my mind but he has been incredibly good this season, especially for an unknown quantity. Signing of the Year, without question. Perhaps he and Dallas could share the award and each hold it for six months.

@biteyerlegs70: Will Bielsa keep the same team on Thursday. Thought Douglas was excellent on Saturday.

He really was excellent and on that performance deserves to keep his place, as does Gjanni Alioski. But Bielsa has relied on Stuart Dallas all season and if he’s fit, I can see him coming back in at Douglas’ expense. Helder Costa is where the question mark would lie for me - is there as much of a case for him to shift Alioski? Not for me.

@JordanCarter10: Alright Graham, as there been any more talk/planning on when crowds will be allowed back into ER and if not are Leeds working on a contingency plan for the start of next season?

The fact that Andrea Radrizzani and Angus Kinnear have both spoken publicly on the need to get fans back in the stadium tells you how important an issue it is for Leeds United and other clubs. I couldn’t say if they’re at the contingency planning stage yet but it is being discussed at least.

@RossCurtis: Do you think the lack of fans inside Elland road has been a benefit or a hinderance?

Kalvin Phillips was honest enough to acknowledge both sides of the coin last week. It cannot be denied there is an anxiety and an edginess to Elland Road when chances aren’t going in or things aren’t going well. But equally, the support the team get home and away in terms of numbers and volume is incredible. They can and do make a difference. It might very well depend on individual mentality for players. Personally I think the game has lost something so significant and needs to get it back as soon as it is possibly safe to do so.

@R_Flanagan22: Morning Graham, hope all is well with you. Any advice for a student journalist? Have already had my work published in a local paper and have upskilled in many other areas thanks to my uni course.

You’re already on the right track. Read as much as you can, write as much as you can. Prove you can do the job even before you apply for one. Non-league clubs often need help with social media or their websites, or with submitting reports to their local paper. Find a niche or a gap and fill it. Learn shorthand, it’s very handy. 

@McQueirns: Hi Graham, just curious if there’s much talk anymore about Patrick Bamford and Ireland. It was talked about when Mick McCarthy was manager that he was trying to recruit him to come last season but Bamford didn’t seem too keen. I’d imagine with the new manager Stephen Kenny coming in it’s probably dead in the water but just interested to know if you’ve heard anything on it? - Thanks!

The last time this came up the line we were given was that Bamford wanted to focus fully on his game at club level. Right at this moment, I suspect it’s quite far from his mind. 

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