Leeds United: Stiffer tests needed to assess rate of progress – Whelan

Ronaldo Vieira.
Ronaldo Vieira.
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Leeds United have picked up back-to-back wins against Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers and it’s always nice to get off to a winning start in your pre-season friendlies.

It’s not just about getting the results – which some say aren’t that important but I think they do as it’s important that you get off to a good start and you get that winning mentality and the confidence of playing very quickly.

But when you get that feeling of winning you want more of it so that’s what your pre-season is for – not just to get your tactics right and to get the fitness, but also to get that winning mentality within the squad.

Even when I was at Leeds United, we went to Ireland and had a pre-season tour and it’s more about your PR than the actual games.

It’s a given that you go across to Ireland and you take your squad across and you play your games against your Shelbournes and your Corks and other teams there.

But you’ve got to expect that when you start with your easier games that you’ve got to start building gradually to give yourself a bit more of a test.

And I’m just not sure if we’ve got enough of a test in the games that we’ve got before the start of the season.

I think we should have had another friendly and I’d like to have seen a bit more stiffer opposition up against the team because it’s the only real way where you find out about what you’ve got. Sometimes it’s easy to go through the motions where you have got your easier games like against Guiseley who we travel to next on Friday.

No disrespect to them, but they are games that on any day you would expect to win.

Is that a big enough test for the boys? Are they going to get enough of a work out physically and mentally and give them enough problems that they have got to solve in that 90 minutes to win a game? I’m not too sure.

Marcus Antonsson scored twice in the win against Shamrock Rovers on Saturday and I think pre-season is vital for all players but more so your goalscorers.

You want to be going into the season full of confidence, feeling good about yourself and banging goals in pre-season which will stand him in good stead for the start of the season.

It’s going to be a completely different test when you start the season and you are playing Championship games but it is important as strikers thrive on confidence.

As long as he keeps banging them in before the start of the season for the first game at Queens Park Rangers, that’s a good sign.

Young Ronaldo Vieira has also played well in Ireland by all accounts and I can see him getting into our team, absolutely.

We saw a quick glimpse of what he’s got to offer at the end of the season and he was exciting.

He’s one of these players that when he’s on the ball you feel like something is going to happen.

He’s got a good turn of pace, he’s got a trick in his locker and he’s direct but with that he’s intelligent as well.

That’s what we saw when he made his debut and we got a little taste of what he’s all about.

Now he’s been given an opportunity and it looks like he’s taking it which I think is fantastic because sometimes you get players like that who can go out there and play with no fear.

In terms of what else we need to bring in, it depends on what budget and what Garry Monk has got to spend.

We haven’t splashed any cash really – let’s be honest – and a lot of the signings that we have made so far have been loans or free transfers.

But, saying that, we do need a bigger squad and a bit more of a squad with experience.

I’m sure there will be a few things going on behind the scenes and now we’ve just got to bide our time and try and get these deals over the line, if there’s any in the pipeline.

I do think we need a little bit more quality, a little bit more strength in the midfield area and up front.

I think up front is vital because we all know that teams do concede a lot in the Championship but scoring goals is what wins you these games.

I know we have been linked with Fleetwood’s Northern Ireland international right back Conor McLaughlin but as well as Gaetano Berardi we’ve got Lewie Coyle in that position and I thought he finished the season well despite his injury. He’s one that I would have thought would have been in contention to start.

I also think it’s vital that we keep Charlie Taylor but in saying that I thought it was vital that we kept Lewis Cook.

You build players around these quality players that you have already got because once you lose them, where’s the quality going to come to improve the players when they come in?

Rob Green made his first start for Leeds in goal at Shamrock with Ross Turnbull also playing out there and we have got two goalkeepers there now with an abundance of Premiership expereince.

They have both been around for a very, very long time and I think that’s what Garry is looking for.

Maybe he feels that it’s such a vital, important position in the team and that the experience of Rob Green and Ross is a must in the Championship; as is decision making and someone that can command the area and someone that can tell players in front of them and the defence and order them around and keep them organised and is a talker. We didn’t really get that from Marco Silvestri – he wasn’t really talking to the defence. He wasn’t very vocal and I think with Rob Green and Ross Turnbull you are going to see more of that.

Marcus Antonsson celebrates his goal at Sheffield Wednesday last season.

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