Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has predicted that the out-of-favour Barry Douglas will soon be on his way out of Elland Road.
Douglas only joined Marcelo Bielsa’s side in July 2018, though he has been limited to just three league starts this season and has found game time hard to come by since recovering from the knee injury that ended his previous campaign.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan believes that there may be no way back for the Scot, posing question marks over the full-back’s style and his chances of regaining his first-team place in the event of Leeds achieving promotion.
He said: “He is behind [Ezgjan] Alioski and [Stuart] Dallas at left-back. He’s on the bench at the minute and will remain so.
“It’s a massive come-down for Barry Douglas, who we all expected to be a key man.
“Marcelo Bielsa wants his full-backs to play like wing-backs, and Douglas has to become that type of player to get in the side.
“I’m not sure he will be at Leeds next season. He has two players in front of him in his position, and he’s not going to get the nod if we’re in the Premier League. I can see him going.”
Barry Douglas may be able to count himself rather unlucky. Not only did injuries curtail a season in which he had been a regular under Bielsa following his move from Wolves, but it seems as though the manager is reluctant to change too much with the side in such good form as they seek a way out of the second tier.
Douglas appears to be the unfortunate victim of Leeds’ current success, so it is no surprise that Whelan expects him to be playing elsewhere in the near future – especially if Leeds end up achieving promotion to the Premier League.
Given Stuart Dallas has been preferred at left-back to Douglas at times – with Bielsa also occasionally opting for a three-man defence – it is arguably a stretch even to claim that the 30-year-old is playing second fiddle at present.
Therefore, Whelan may well be right in suggesting that Douglas’ days at Elland Road appear to be numbered.
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