Times report suggests why Bielsa is not starting Nketiah at Leeds
Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah turned some heads this week after he scored a hat-trick for the England Under-21s in their 5-1 win against Austria.
Nketiah is yet to start for Leeds in the Championship, but has still scored four goals, two in the EFL Cup and two in the league.
After the game, Nketiah said he wasn’t happy being on the bench at Leeds and he’s followed that up with an interview in the Times where he re-iterated the point, saying, “It’s been disappointing for me not to start in the league, I went there to play games and get games. Every time I’ve come on and done well and shown why I think I should be playing, I think tonight was a good statement for me to put across a performance and hopefully I’ll be starting in the next run of games.”
For Nketiah, the real frustration must be that Leeds aren’t scoring enough goals. If they were flying at the top of the league it would be different. But, Leeds have only scored 15 goals in 11 games and their xG (expected goals) is over 23.
Nketiah must be wondering why Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t fancy him but there’s a clue in the Times report.
Nketiah is described as a throwback to the old goal-poaching centre-forwards and the report says, “It is understood that may work against him under Marcelo Bielsa, the Leeds manager, as on the rare occasion he doesn’t score, he can offer little to the overall game.
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“Bielsa expects his forward players to enhance the game with a high work rate, tracking back and linking play with his teammates, all elements of Nketiah’s game that will need to be developed to match his undeniable eye for a goal, but it is easy to argue that in order for him to learn this, he needs more competitive minutes.”
That final line is critical here. Nketiah isn’t going to develop in the Leeds Under-23s and he’s shown that he’s in fine form with six goals in four games for the England Under-21s.
It’s hard to see him not starting in any other Championship side at the moment, with the possible exception of Fulham who have Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Nketiah can only develop in the first-team under Bielsa and if he’s scoring goals then the manager can surely give him some slack in other areas.
Sergio Aguero worked hard to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s style of play and is still the number one striker at the Etihad.
Bielsa must surely give Nketiah a chance or run the risk of losing him and sacrificing points in January.
In other Leeds news, ‘Sooner rather than later’ – Big fitness boost for Leeds as key star delivers update