Former Manchester City midfielder Steve McManaman believes Leeds time will come again in the Premier League.
Leeds travel to his former club on Sunday for an FA Cup Fifth Round clash and the winger was in the City side the last time the two clashed
The two sides last clashed at the Etihad, in a Premier League encounter in the 2003/04 season in a game that finished 1-1. It is the only meeting between the two clubs since City moved from their old Maine Road ground to the Etihad in the summer of 2003.
The former Liverpool and City midfielder came up against Leeds on a regular basis during his time in the Premier League and he still thinks of Leeds as a big club, despite having now spent nine seasons outside of the top flight in English football. “I`d still call Leeds a huge club but I`m really talking about their history, support and potential. As a team, they are where they are,” McManaman told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The player, who also represented England and Real Madrid during a successful career, is now working for ESPN who will be showing the game live on Sunday afternoon. Leeds were also picked for live coverage by ESPN in the previous round, when they defeated Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite Leeds drop from the Premier League in 2004, they remain a big draw for the TV companies. Apart from the clashes with Birmingham City in the third round this season, Leeds have been featured live in each of their last twelve FA Cup ties, dating back to the 2008/09 season.
During that time, Leeds have beaten Manchester United and held Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to draws away from home. Over 6,000 fans will also cheer Leeds on when they make the trip across the Pennines on Sunday and McManaman says he would like to see Leeds return to the Premier League. “I`d like to see Leeds in the Premier League but it`s difficult to say the competition would be better off with them in it.
“It never comes down to history or the number of supporters you`ve got. You get there if your team is good enough.
“But the Championship`s the most inconsistent league going. Part of me always thinks ‘win four or five games and you`re right up there` but hardly any clubs seem capable of that. I still think Leeds` time has to come eventually.”
The game in 2003 remains the only clash between the two sides at the Etihad stadium.
They last met in this competition in 2000 when the tables were turned. Back then, Manchester City were top of the championship, whilst Leeds were top of the Premier League going into the game.
City twice went ahead through Shaun Goater and Ian Bishop but Leeds proved too strong in the end thanks to goals from Eirik Bakke, Alan Smith, Lee Bowyer and Harry Kewell (2)
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