Leeds United: Season could so easily have been very different without McCormack – Lorimer

Ross McCormack.
Ross McCormack.
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Leeds legend Peter Lorimer has his say on all things United

I’d rather not think about where Leeds United would be without Ross McCormack’s goals.

A lot of clubs rely on their forwards to either get them up or keep them out of trouble and the Championship’s been full of prolific forwards this season.

You can’t say the same about the squad at Leeds. Matt Smith’s had a decent year but before Saturday’s win at Birmingham City, there was an amazing stat which showed that Ross had scored more league goals than all the other players at Elland Road combined. That says it all.

He was close to winning the Football League’s player-of-the-year award and probably should have done, and I’m not surprised to see him in every team-of-the-year going. He’s been the star of the show for Leeds by a country mile but if you judge him by the standards of the division as a whole, he’s right up there too.

So naturally I feel a bit concerned about what might happen in the summer. There’s a trend at the Premier League’s bottom end of clubs with limited budgets looking to the Championship for good value for money and untapped talent.

The best way to fend off their advances is to win promotion. No doubt Burnley and Leicester City have lads who a few top-flight sides would be interested in but they’re heading for the Premier League and will probably keep hold of them.

Where Ross is concerned, Leeds don’t have that protection. We know that West Ham and Cardiff had a good look at him in January and his form has been spot on since then. Any manager looking around for possible deals is going to think seriously about moving for him.

The pleasing thing in January was that we turned down the bids that came in for Ross. That at least gives me confidence that the club have the situation under control and won’t be forced into anything, but we all know that a lot depends on the player being happy too.

I don’t know what’s in Ross’ head. I don’t know if he’s here for the long haul or if he’ll be starting to think that he should be playing at a higher level. The thing about him is that he’ll score goals for any team. He’s got the instinct. The better your team-mates, the more service you get and the more likely you are to find the net.

He’s got 29 goals for the season and I really hope he hits a 30th on Saturday.

Trust me, he’ll be frustrated if he doesn’t. You don’t get the chance to reach that mark in a single season very often and I did it only once. Over the years, only four or five players at Leeds ever have.

I’ve obviously watched him throughout the season and I think he’s matured massively. Giving him a new contract last summer and then the captaincy seemed to make him more settled and I do think he’s onto a good thing here.

You might ask why he’d want to stay given our form this season and I suppose it’s a fair question but we’re on the brink of a new horizon here and it looks like the rebuilding under Massimo Cellino is about to start. He and many other people have heard this before but you have to hope that the future looks bright at last.

You get more money in the Premier League, that much we know.

But it doesn’t work out well for everyone. Look at Luciano Becchio. He earned a move to Norwich City a year and a half ago but he’s hardly played. And when I say hardly, I mean hardly – two starts and 15 appearances.

I’m sure he’s not happy. How can he be? Yes, he’s pulling in money but footballers want to be playing and they want to feel wanted. Becchio doesn’t have either of those things.

At Leeds, Ross has a great rapport with the fans, he has a long contract and he’s in top form. When you look at it like that, it’s a good package.

I’m not naive about the way football works or the way players think, but I do feel there are personal reasons why it would do him good to stay at Elland Road.

And I sincerely hope that he does.

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