Daniel Farke should axe Sam Byram after stinker v Norwich, he didn't make a tackle for Leeds United
Daniel Farke should consider dropping Sam Byram after his performance for Leeds United against Norwich City on Saturday (21 October).
The defender started at left-back and played 70 minutes before being replaced by Willy Gnonto on 70 minutes with his side 2-1 down to the Canaries.
But the Whites managed to turn things around after the 30-year-old was substituted against his old side to record a 3-2 victory at Carrow Road.
It certainly wasn’t one of Byram’s better afternoons in a Leeds shirt since making the move back to the club after leaving for West Ham seven years ago.
The Whites academy product signed from Saturday’s opponents Norwich over the summer following his release at the end of last season.
Although he has been struggling for fitness over the past few years, injuries haven’t proven to be a problem for him so far this season after making 12 appearances in all competitions.
He has largely been a consistent performer for Farke in the opening stages of the campaign, but he just never really got to grips with matters against the Canaries.
It wasn’t a comfortable afternoon for any of the Leeds defenders in truth, with none of them really covering themselves in much glory, particularly in the first half.
But Byram looked quite shaky defensively by his usual standards as he is normally quite a composed character on the left-hand side of the backline.
He was handed a 6.6 rating by SofaScore for his performance – the joint-lowest of any of the Whites players alongside keeper Illan Meslier and fellow defender Joe Rodon.
Although Farke changed the formation and largely went for broke to get something out of the game, his replacement Gnonto came on and looked bright after grabbing an assist.
In his 70 minutes on the pitch, Byram had 44 touches of the ball but didn’t make any key passes, failed to complete a dribble and neither of his two crosses found one of his teammates.
While he made two clearances and blocked one shot, he didn’t make a single tackle throughout the afternoon and he committed one foul.
The versatile defender was also dribbled past once by an opponent and he gave the ball away on seven occasions before being substituted.
It was perhaps just an off-day for Byram and that is going to happen from time to time, but with Jamie Shackleton returning to the bench at Carrow Road, perhaps he should get the nod at left-back against Stoke City on Wednesday (25 October).
With there still being question marks over Byram’s ability to play back-to-back games in midweek, it would give him the opportunity to recover and be raring to go again for the game against Huddersfield Town next Saturday (28 October).
There is no doubt he has done enough this season to still be thought of as the first-choice left-back, but he just wasn’t quite at it against Norwich, so perhaps one game out of the side wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.
In other Leeds United news, Graham Smyth has revealed 49ers Enterprises was surprised by an issue at Elland Road.