Leeds United's Jay-Roy Grot opens up over difficult first year at Elland Road

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Leeds United's Jay-Roy Grot has opened up over his loss of form and confidence at Elland Road revealing that a short stint away from the club could well be the answer.

The 20-year-old made the switch to Elland Road last summer from Dutch side N.E.C. signing a four-year deal in West Yorkshire.

Jay-Roy Grot.

Jay-Roy Grot.

United saw their capture of Grot as a major coup with the youngster on the verge of a move to Serie A with Fiorentina before talks broke down over a fee. Grot though struggled to adjust to life at Leeds under Thomas Christiansen initially playing a cameo role from the bench more often than not.

A similar role continued under Paul Heckingbottom as he racked up 301 minutes of action during his 20 Championship appearances with the Whites, which contained just one start, and led to a decline in self-confidence and form with Grot unable to muster much of an impact.

Some United fans saw him as a scapegoat for the frustration on the terraces and in one instance he was booed as he took to the pitch during Leeds' 1-0 victory over Norwich City at Elland Road.

The Dutchman though has now revealed all about his difficult spell in West Yorkshire to Voetbal International: "My mouth fell open when I saw Elland Road for the first time, wow, what a stadium. The first time I was allowed to play there, I was so proud.

Jay-Roy Grot with former boss Thomas Christiansen.

Jay-Roy Grot with former boss Thomas Christiansen.

"The first games went well. The pace in the Championship is much higher than in the Eredivisie, but I was able to keep up with it.

"My self-confidence became less though as it went on, my game too. Suddenly I did have a hard time keeping up with the pace. I flew from front to back and from left to right, gasping for breath.

"I am someone who is very critical. Very strict for myself. Trainers and team-mates continued to support me, and there were also supporters who said: 'He is young and still has to get used to it, give him time'. But they were drowned out by whistling people in the stadium, by hateful twitterers. It is also in me: if ten people are positive and one negative, then the words of that one will remain. "

The 20-year-old also revealed that he struggled to adapt to his new life and a new culture in Leeds: "[It is a] beautiful city, you have everything. A bank, clothing stores. But I am not a type that goes out. In one year I went to the cinema twice. I have not seen much more of the city. I started training, came home, watched TV and fell asleep on the couch.

"A club cannot help you with everything. With life itself. I thought that was difficult. I am not such an adventurer, more of a hermit. My mother sometimes says that I am shy and she is right about that. I am always at home. Playing playstation and watching movies.

"I am not someone who makes friends easily. And that also broke me up in England. Cooking, I had no problems with that. But coming home every day to an empty house, I had a hard time. I did nothing, nobody knew. I also had little contact with the other boys in the beginning."

Grot will now spend the 2018/19 season on loan at Eredivise side VVV-Venlo where he believes he can regain some much needed confidence to bring back to Leeds next term.

"People will say that I have had a lost year, but that is not how I see it," he continued.

"I have experienced and learned a lot. Leeds did not give me a four-year contract for nothing. They saw a future in me and they still see that. The technical director [Victor Orta] has emphasised this again.

"I think this is a good solution. At VVV I want to show myself, help the team with goals and assists, and from there return more strongly at Leeds. I want to play in the Premier League.

"For now I am glad that I live closer to my family. And that I can find the joy in football. Because that was lost for a while last season. It comes back a bit here every day. The boys are nice, the trainers too. I'm on the field again with a smile."