MOT View: Huge chance for 20y/o v QPR as opportunity knocks
Eddie Nketiah is finally set to get his first Championship start on Saturday.
Marcelo Bielsa revealed that Patrick Bamford was still nursing the ankle he rolled against Sheffield Wednesday and, bar an act of massive trolling, he should name Nketiah as the sole striker against QPR.
20-year-old Nketiah has been calling for it, not least in the Sky Sports interview after he scored a hat-trick for the England Under-21s.
Plenty of Leeds fans have been calling for it, with Bamford’s last goal coming back in August.
Now it looks like his chance is here and if he can grasp it with both hands, he could nail down a regular place in the starting XI.
Bielsa has backed Bamford to the hilt this season. But, while Leeds have been struggling for goals (17 against an xG of over 27), if Nketiah does what Bamford couldn’t and Leeds win, Bielsa will be loath to change things.
And that could mean Bamford ends up where Nketiah has been, nose pressed up against the glass in the dugout and waiting for an opportunity that could take a while to present itself.
In a recent Mirror column, Ian Holloway said that Bielsa was right playing Nketiah from the bench and that the youngster might not be able to give as much over 90 minutes.
There doesn’t seem much to back this up. Nketiah scored three in his last start for England Under-21s, two in September against Turkey and two for Arsenal in a 3-0 win against Fiorentina in July. Nketiah doesn’t seem to struggle when he starts.
Of course, one game might not be enough. Even the best strikers don’t score every game. But one game might be all he gets if Bamford is fit to play against Blackburn the following weekend.
He simply must take his chance and prove Bielsa wrong if he wants to cement a starting place in the Leeds side.
In other Leeds news, MOT View: Holloway has got it all wrong in column about Nketiah