There’s one thing that fascinates me with how things are run at Leeds United.
Marcelo Bielsa has made it common practice for players who aren’t getting enough minutes in the first team to play for the U23s to keep up their match sharpness. One player who has benefitted from it so far has been striker Eddie Nketiah, having used it as a ground for him to turn into the goalscorer that we see come off the bench for the first team.
It’s all well and good if he’s just making appearances here and there, but I do worry that the constant chopping and changing between the two teams could affect Nketiah if he’s to get more regular minutes for the first team.
Whilst it’s good that he’s getting more minutes and opportunities to develop, he’s not playing with the same players that he would in the first team. For instance, there’s a big difference from playing with Pablo Hernandez and Jack Harrison out wide for the first team than there is with Jack Clarke and Alfie McCalmont with the U23s.
As I’ve noted before I think that Nketiah and Bamford have the potential to play together for the first team, so this might not be much of an issue going forward. If he can regularly feature in the first team, then he won’t need to make cameo appearances for the U23s every now and again.
He needs to get into a regular rhythm if he is to eventually start playing with the first team on a regular basis. Given Patrick Bamford’s recent injury history, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we may need Nketiah to start leading the line for us in the near future, and if he has to keep switching between learning how Hernandez and Harrison play compared to Clarke and McCalmont then it’s just going to hurt his development.
If Bielsa is content with getting Nketiah more minutes down the line, then fine. However, I’d much rather he does it in the first team rather than with the U23s.
What about you? Do you think that it’s right for Nketiah to keep switching between the first team and U23s? Or do you think that it’s not the best strategy in the long term?