Leeds United: Luciano Spalletti Italy frustration could offer Wilfried Gnonto chance
Leeds United winger Wilfried Gnonto could be in line to earn his chance at international level after Luciano Spalletti was left frustrated by Italy’s performance against North Macedonia.
Gnonto was a late substitute for the European champions in their 1-1 draw on Saturday (9 September), with the home side quickly equalising after his introduction, but Italy were nowhere near their best in Spalletti’s first match in charge.
Having taken over from Roberto Mancini after he became Saudi Arabia’s boss, new Italy manager Spalletti was left irritated by the lack of attacking threat his side posed in North Macedonia, only creating three big chances despite having 72 per cent possession (Fotmob).
As quoted by The Athletic on Sunday (10 September) he said: “We conceded little, but we could have done more harm. We could have done better with quality, as they were defending with five men, so we should have split them apart more easily.
“That was also inevitable with the state of the pitch, as it is not possible to pass with quality on that turf.”
Italy started with Mattia Zaccagni and Matteo Politano either side of Ciro Immobile and both players struggled to impact proceedings with limited wide options at Spattelli’s disposal it seems like Italy’s match against Ukraine would be the perfect time for Gnonto to start.
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In his eight-minute cameo, the 19-year-old completed two dribbles, the joint most of any player in the match and more than Politano and Zaccagni, while also winning four ground duels and two fouls, helping Italy to progress up the pitch and maintain possession.
When he’s played for Leeds this season it has been noticeable how bright the Italian winger has looked, always looking to carry the ball towards the goal and attack rather than ever taking the easy option to play backwards. With Italy’s lack of impetus against North Macedonia, Gnonto could solve that problem.
Fans back at Elland Road won’t mind seeing their winger limited to short cameos from the bench as it reduces the chances of him picking up an injury while on international duty and ensures that he will return to Championship action fully fit.
In other Leeds United, Angus Kinnear has shared his verdict on Daniel Farke comparing him with Marcelo Bielsa