By Dan Carter

10th Oct, 2023 | 8:40am

Wilfried Gnonto may be made to wait as Leeds United go from strength to strength without 'key' star

As a majority of the first team squad departed Elland Road this summer, it seemed a given that Wilfried Gnonto would not be a Leeds United player come the end of the transfer window.

The Italian had refused to play and was training on his own while being consistently linked with making the switch to a number of top-flight clubs, but in the end, he ended up remaining with Daniel Farke’s squad until January at least.

But given the chaos surrounding the winger, it hasn’t been the most electric of starts to life in the second tier for Gnonto, scoring once in five appearances before an ankle injury picked up in a draw with Hull has seen him miss four games.

Leeds Live journalist William Jackson has predicted that Gnonto will be “key” this winter, writing on Monday (9 October): “The Italy international has since gone under the knife for a minor procedure on his foot but he isn’t expected to be out for long and having missed four straight games, he’ll be itching to get back into the action.

“Gnonto ought to be a key man for Farke as the winter months draw in and the manager will be glad to see him on the verge of making a return to action.”

While the 19-year-old may well be itching to play, he could be made to wait to return to the fold at Elland Road, given the remarkable form of his teammates during his absence, which has seen Leeds United climb to fifth as we enter the October international break.

Joel Piroe and Georginio Rutter are two of the first names on Farke’s team sheet currently having been in red-hot form this season in front of goal, Piroe finding the net on five occasions since making the switch to Elland Road and Rutter registering five goal involvements himself.

On the right, Dan James has been in inspired form and picked up his first goal of the season in the Whites’ win over Bristol City on Saturday (7 October), taking the Welshman to a total of four assists and one goal in seven Championship starts this campaign.

From the left wing, Crysencio Summerville has also been electric and likely could have had a hattrick against the Robins last time out had he been able to convert his chances. With two goals and two assists in seven starts, it would seem unfair for Farke to drop the 21-year-old when Leeds return against Norwich.

That seemingly leaves no obvious place for Gnonto to slot back into the starting XI at Elland Road and while the 19-year-old will undoubtedly return to the fold sooner rather than later, given his remarkable talent, you would imagine he may have to wait his turn.

Farke has been known to chop and change his sides so the Italian international will get his turn, now he just has to show he was worth keeping hold of over this summer.

In other Leeds United news, Farke has heaped praise on Archie Gray for his performance at right back against the Robins