Former England international Stephen Warnock has expressed that he has concerns over the depth in Marcelo Bielsa’s squad at Leeds United.
Warnock, who played 67 times for the Whites during a two-year stint at Elland Road (TransferMarkt), shared his thoughts during a Q&A session on his personal Instagram account on Wednesday, October 10 (via HITC), where he hailed the West Yorkshire outfit as one of the biggest English clubs outside of the Premier League.
Leeds are aiming to secure a return to the top-flight this season, after missing out on a Premier League berth last term when they were beaten by Derby County in the Championship play-off semi-finals, having fallen short of an automatic spot by six-points.
Injuries ripped through Bielsa’s ranks during the Argentine’s maiden term at the second-tier outfit, with United suffering from more than 30 individual blows and seeing players ruled out for more than 200 combined fixtures (Yorkshire Evening Post).
Leeds have again seen their players handed lengthy stints on the sidelines this term, as well, with Liam Cooper’s groin injury picked up against West Bromwich Albion ruling the centre-back out for up to six weeks, while Jamie Shackleton’s hamstring strain from the same game has forced the midfielder out for up to a month.
The Whites also entered the campaign without Luke Ayling and Tyler Roberts after the duo carried blows out of pre-season, with Ayling suffering from an ankle knock and Roberts having fluid drained from his knee (Leeds Live).
Two-time England international Warnock has now expressed concerns that his former side Leeds do not have the depth to cover for such frequent losses again.
When asked if he felt Leeds can secure promotion this term, Warnock replied: “I hope so, I just worry about injuries again and [the] size of the squad.”
Given the extent to which Leeds saw players drop to the sidelines with various gripes last term, it is only natural for Warnock – and the Elland Road faithful by extension – to be concerned of a repeat after seeing key men suffer injuries already this season.
The Whites could have looked to extend the men at Bielsa’s disposal in the summer market, but the players brought to West Yorkshire have mainly served as the replacements for those who left.
Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Ben White, for example, has featured in each Championship game so far this season (WhoScored), but would not have expected such frequent minutes had Pontus Jansson not moved to Brentford. The same goes for Arsenal-owned striker Eddie Nketiah, who has been a frequent impact substitute following Kemar Roofe’s departure for RSC Anderlecht.
But Bielsa enjoys a small first-team (talkSPORT), and it will be on the Argentine to manage the workload of his preferred 18-players to prevent seeing his options vastly reduce as the season progresses.
Is Marcelo Bielsa capable of taking Leeds United up?
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