Ashley Cole blasts Leeds United ace Ezgjan Alioski in North Macedonia v Austria
Ashley Cole was less than impressed by Leeds United left-back Ezgjan Alioski when North Macedonia conceded to Austria on Sunday.
Stefan Lainer scored a superb volley to put Austria 1-0 ahead in Bucharest in their Euro 2020 opener.
However, ex-England, Arsenal and Chelsea left-back Cole claims Alioski’s poor defending led to the goal.
When asked what Alioski should have done better during ITV’s half-time coverage, Cole said: “Defending the danger.
“I feel wing-backs in this day and age, they seem to feel they have to man-mark. Whereas a full-back would be [saying], ‘that’s my position now, I’m covering my centre-half, I can see the ball, I can see the whole line, my positioning is a little bit deeper where I can be able to attack the ball’.
“And he’s just switched off.
“He’s taken a couple of steps forward which has already put him in a bad position.
“It’s very difficult to react and very difficult to move your feet and actually get ready to face danger.
“Ultimately, it’s a great ball but Alioski should have taken a better defensive position.”
Why Leeds need a new left-back
Before going in on Alioski, we’ll just make it clear that he’s someone who we’ve absolutely loved watching play for the Whites in recent years and if he does leave Elland Road when his contract expires, his character will be missed.
However, he’s just not a left-back.
We saw it time and time again in the Premier League this season when Alioski was getting caught out by wide players.
Austria and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Leiner isn’t someone who many fans will have heard of but even he was allowed to score a goal by Alioski’s poor defending.
Whether it’s a lack of concentration or just a lack of defensive nous, Alioski can prove to be a liability at times when it comes to defending balls like Marcel Sabitzer’s into Leiner.
Leeds need a proper left-back this summer.
While Marcelo Bielsa loves to have attack-minded full-backs, he can still find someone out there who’s better than Alioski going forward and way better defensively.
It’s not impossible and the fact we’re an ambitious Premier League club with a bit of money to spend is bound to help.
In other Leeds United news, here’s what an Italian commentator said about Kalvin Phillips as England beat Croatia.