Tottenham loanee Djed Spence faces struggle to make Leeds United XI thanks to undroppable Archie Gray - Sky Sports pundit
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United …
Djed Spence has “got it all on” to get into the Leeds United side when he is fit because Archie Gray is now undroppable, according to Paul Robinson.
The on-loan Tottenham defender is nearing full fitness again after picking up an injury following his Whites debut in the season opener, with homegrown favourite Gray having filled in at right-back for Daniel Farke in his absence.
The 17-year-old might have therefore been set for a spell on the bench with Ethan Ampadu and Glen Kamara excelling in his natural central midfield positions, but former Whites keeper Robinson believes it is the Spurs man who might struggle to get a game because when it comes to the “excellent” teenager “he plays”.
The Sky Sports pundit exclusively told MOT Leeds News: “I think he plays. You look at the games he’s played this year he’s started all if not the majority.
“He played at right-back against Leicester and was excellent only to be brought off in the 94th minute.
“Yes, Ampadu and Kamara have done really well but we sit here and talk about the Championship season and the rigours and the strain that it puts on your squad.
“When you’ve got a quality player like Archie Gray as a young player you look after him.
“The manager’s found a role for him, whether it be right-back or defensive holding-midfielder or higher up the pitch, he seems to play most weeks.
“Just because Djed Spence comes back… listen, Djed Spence has got it all on to get into the team.
“It’s a team that’s winning, a team that’s playing well, and Archie’s an excellent young player who, for me, plays regardless of where he plays.
“Whether it’s in place of Ampadu or Kamara in the holding midfield or as right-back, I think he’s done an excellent job when he’s fitted in there.
“I just think now that the manager’s getting a more empty treatment room and starting to get players back it’s a problem that he’s going to want.
“You don’t want to predict injuries and suspensions but it is going to happen. It’s a fact of a season, he’s not going to have a full squad to pick from the whole season as we’ve seen now.
“At the start of the season the squad was really depleted but now he’s got a really strong-looking squad.
“You’ve got the likes of [Stuart] Dallas and Spence who are still injured, Spence coming back, but he’s getting a really good full-strength squad.
“I don’t think there’s many others if any, maybe Leicester in the Championship, that have got a squad as strong as Leeds have.”
It is as clear as day how much Farke values Gray at Leeds United having already given him 17 appearances in all competitions this season, with 15 starts, in his first run in the senior side.
Spence was signed despite the presence of Cody Drameh and Luke Ayling in the summer, and the big-name former Championship stand-out was seen as the presumed longer-term starter following his eye-catching cameo against Sheffield Wednesday.
That may still prove to be the case but it increasingly looks like the manager wants Gray in the team somewhere wherever possible.
In other Leeds United news, player making the club look “foolish” tipped to be at Elland Road next season.