By George Overhill

24th Sep, 2023 | 6:10pm

Daniel Farke must send message, Joe Rodon, Archie Gray and Luke Ayling to stay out for Leeds United vs Southampton - BBC pundit

Daniel Farke shouldn’t change anything from his Leeds United line up for the next game against Southampton after the dominant performance vs Watford, according to Ross McCormack.

Speaking live on BBC Radio Leeds (23 September) the former Whites striker said he “wouldn’t change a thing” after the 3-0 victory at Elland Road because it “sends out a message” that shirts are there to be won with good performances.

The German replaced the suspended Joe Rodon with Liam Cooper against the Hornets while resting Archie Gray and Luke Ayling in favour of Glen Kamara and Jamie Shackleton, and McCormack expects the senior two men won’t even be expecting to start next weekend now.

McCormack said (43m 30s): “It depends how [Farke] feels about the boys who are out of the team. Are they important enough to his philosophy and the way he wants to play to bring them in?

“Does he think if they were playing today he could have added to that even more? Gray and Rodon are the two aren’t they.

“Personally if I was the manager I wouldn’t change a thing because it sends out the wrong sort of message [to switch back] that no matter if you have your best game of the season these players are still going to come back in, where as if you keep some of your better players on the bench it sends out a message to the boys who have come in, ‘you come in and you play well you, keep the shirt’.

“That would drive them on. Guys like Rodon and Ayling will be probably training next week not expecting to come into the team. I don’t think they’ll be expecting to come into the team after that performance.

“But they’re experienced enough to guys to know that this performances won’t be every week so they’ll keep themselves right.”

Good problems

None of those who came out of the line up against Watford have done anything especially wrong on the whole this season.

Even Rodon’s suspension was hardly justified when the first of his yellows at Hull City was so soft, while Gray can probably be afforded a slight slip in standards having been expected to start every game off the bat on his introduction to the first team at 17.

Ayling’s form has been called into question plenty of times in the past couple of seasons, but even he has been looking reasonably solid of late, and it is impossible to doubt his commitment to the team.

But there is certainly merit in McCormack’s stance, and the more competition for places there is the better in general.

However, Farke has to choose the best selection to actually win the game first and foremost, and with the trip to St. Mary’s another away game in the early kick-off he might be tempted to go with the line-up that won 3-0 at Millwall in similar circumstances on 17 September.

When the Whites have so frequently been scrambling for numbers thanks to injury in the past couple of years it is a welcome novelty to have so many options apparently in form, and the manager surely won’t be complaining about having decisions to make.

In other Leeds United news, the “atmosphere” at Elland Road “scared” the Watford side admitted one of their key players.