BBC pundit Noel Whelan has pleaded with Marcelo Bielsa to stop being stubborn and utilise Leeds United’s academy star Ryan Edmondson in the first-team.
Former boss Paul Heckingbottom handed Edmondson his senior Whites debut in his final game at the helm, as we beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at Elland Road and clinched 13th place in the Championship table.
Bielsa would keep the 18-year-old around the first-team fold upon his arrival in West Yorkshire, but has not turned to the York-born forward in any competition since handing Edmondson a 19-minute cameo against Birmingham City in September 2018.
The boss has only named Edmondson on the bench twice since his late run out against the Blues just shy of 16-months ago, too, despite feeling offensive reinforcements are a necessity this January after Arsenal recalled Eddie Nketiah.
Whelan is furious at Bielsa for leaving Edmondson out of the matchday squad time and time again after his latest omission against QPR at the weekend, where the Argentine only named defenders and midfielders on the bench alongside goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
“You’ve only got one recognised striker in the club in the form of Patrick Bamford [and] if that’s all you’ve got, unfortunately, you’ve got to use [Edmondson],” Whelan told Football Insider.
Should Bielsa offer Edmondson a chance to prove himself?
“He’s been scoring for fun in the U23s, and sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.
“Even if you don’t fancy him as a player, you need some back-up on the bench, you need an out-and-out striker on the bench and that’s all you’ve got, you’ve got to use him.
“It’s as simple as that. To not use him is to be a little bit stubborn and stuck in your ways – you’ve got to have that outlet.”
Edmondson has scored eight goals in the Professional Development League for our Under 23s this season, having struck eleven last term on route to the North Division title.
The 18-year-old even opened the scoring on the day we wrapped up the title, before lashing home another inside the final ten minutes.
His qualities are often lauded by the fanbase on social media whenever Edmondson excels under Carlos Corberan, but the excitement is yet to see Bielsa take action – and Whelan’s words will likely also fall on deaf ears.
In other Leeds United news, a £10.8m-rated striker is likely to stay away from Elland Road this month.