Conflict among Leeds United players as Sam Allardyce arrives as Elland Road manager
There are “tensions” in the Leeds United squad along generational lines with the youngsters upset at the senior professionals, according to the Daily Mail.
Sam Allardyce was announced as the club’s fourth manager of a chaotic campaign on Wednesday (3 May) but is greeted by turmoil “behind the scenes” at Elland Road with a fractured playing staff.
Not only are there players who remain loyal to the sacked Javi Gracia, there is also a split among the squad with the youngsters feeling let down by the veterans on leadership grounds.
According to The Mail: “Behind the scenes there are also tensions between Leeds’ younger and more experienced players, with a number of the youngsters believing the team are suffering from a lack of leadership shown by the club’s senior professionals.”
A run of five games with just a single point gained, with 18 goals conceded and players making major errors, doesn’t suggest a group of players who are being confidently led.
Some of that comes down to the previous manager and his staff, but they have now paid for it with their jobs, so responsibility has to be taken within the dressing room too.
While the specific players on either side of the divide aren’t named it doesn’t take much effort to identify possible candidates.
The spotlight will inevitably fall on long-time Leeds United stalwarts such as captain Liam Cooper and vice-captain Luke Ayling, while the likes of Rodrigo, Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas are all north of 30 and have been at the club for some time, and 29-year-old Patrick Bamford has to be considered a senior figure.
A combination of injuries and lack of action may explain some deficit on the pitch, although four of the aforementioned names have returned to the side of late, but there should be leadership in the dressing room and on the training ground either way.
Whether the accusation is fair is another matter, but whatever the senior figures are or are not doing is perhaps moot if it isn’t having the desired effect.
That teenage Willy Gnonto and 21-year-old Crysencio Summerville looked the most purposeful in a defeated looking Whites side in the 4-1 reverse at Bournemouth on 30 April which doesn’t say much for the squad as a whole, as various players in the mid-20s have long been flattering to deceive as well.
And with 23-year-old Illan Meslier’s confidence clearly shattered, with two more errors at the Vitality after a pair at Fulham a week earlier (22 April), questions could perhaps be asked of veteran back up Joel Robles.
There is plenty of blame to go around at the moment, at all levels of the club, but with Allardyce now in there is no time for recriminations when there is just 360 minutes of football left to save the season.