Leeds United: Versatile McCormack still has big role to play - Lorimer

DROPPED: Whites' leading scorer Ross McCormack was left out of the team for the midweek win over Forest.
DROPPED: Whites' leading scorer Ross McCormack was left out of the team for the midweek win over Forest.
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When you play as well as Leeds United did at Nottingham Forest, there’s no obvious reason to change things around or fix what isn’t broken.

Against Millwall on Saturday, you’d assume that Simon Grayson will stick with the same formation – 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 depending on your point of view – but I don’t see him committing to that system for the rest of the Championship season.

More likely, he will take it game by game and delight in the fact this his team are so versatile.

One-trick ponies tend to struggle in this league and, as Tuesday’s win showed, it pays to have a squad who can adapt when the time comes to freshen things up.

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There was much to applaud in the performance against Forest, especially on such an emotional night for our club. What stood out for me was the effect of using Michael Brown in a three-man midfield.

He had a good game and never missed a beat but the real value of his selection was in freeing Jonny Howson and Adam Clayton to get forward and do what they do best.

I’m a big fan of both players and I see immense talent in them but I’m of the view that a 4-4-2 formation stifles them somewhat.

That’s not to say they’ve been poor this season but I can’t remember another game in which the pair of them look so free and dangerous.

Forest seemed completely baffled and were never in the game.

You look at a display like Tuesday’s and feel that, in the same mood and with the same system, Leeds could destroy any side in the league.

But the Championship is not that simple and there are times when a different approach will be needed. That’s why, if I was Ross McCormack, I wouldn’t be too worried about my role in the team.

It’s a major decision to drop your top scorer and leave him on the bench, as Simon did with McCormack at Forest.

Ross won’t like that or be happy about it but I think he’ll understand why it had to happen.

He’d be first to admit that playing as a lone striker is not his strength. In fact, Luciano Becchio is the one forward at Elland Road who has consistently thrived in that role.

A rethink was clearly needed against Forest and the job of a manager is to choose the right team, not necessarily to pick his best players.

You’d assume that they are one in the same but it’s not always the case.

For what it’s worth, I believe that Ross could easily play in the advanced midfield role which Howson occupies so effectively.

I also think he’ll find that there are plenty of games when Simon wants to play two up top, perhaps against sides who look vulnerable or who are packing players behind the ball.

In short, I don’t think this will be Ross consigned to the bench for the foreseeable future.

He’s just going to have to accept that in a league as dogged and unpredictable as the Championship, his manager will use horses for courses.

You won’t see a better example of well-chosen tactics than you did at the City Ground and the victory sends out a message.

Jermaine Beckford made his Leeds United debut on March 21 2006.

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