ITV pundit Eniola Aluko taken aback by Leeds United star Brenden Aaronson World Cup snub
Eniola Aluko was taken aback by USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter’s decision to leave Leeds United star Brenden Aaronson out of his starting line-up against Wales.
The summer signing has started every game so far in the Premier League for the Whites and has been one of the stronger performers under Jesse Marsch, but was unexpectedly left out of the XI to begin the game against Gareth Bale’s Welsh side on Monday.
Tyler Adams captained the US side as his strong Leeds United form saw him make the step up in responsibility on the international stage, in a game where they dominated and took the lead through Tim Weah before a late Bale penalty shared the points.
Speaking on the live ITV match coverage prior to kick off on Monday (21 November, 17min) Aluko said of the USMNT: “They’re going to be really energetic, they’ll play on the press, they’ll be fearless on the press. I think technically Adams is the player in midfield for Leeds who’s done well, he’ll try and keep the ball.
“Aaronson’s on the bench, I really expected him to start.
“So the depth for this USA team is interesting, the likes of Aaronson can come on.”
The 22-year-old was eventually introduced in the 66th minute, replacing Juventus’ Weston McKinnie, but was unable to prevent his side losing the lead.
The Americans failed to make their early dominance pay as they only scored once and were ultimately pegged back, but Aaronson’s inclusion from the start could have made the difference in that regard.
Having let the result slip it would be no surprise to see the Whites man brought into the side from the off against England on Friday (25 November).
That game will put a large section of Leeds supporters in the odd position of wanting their pair of stand-out Americans to not enjoy success.
Victor Orta chased Aaronson for months before finally getting his man early in the summer window, in a deal reported to be worth nearly £25million [Sky Sports], with Red Bull Salzburg refusing to agree to his exit in January.
He has overshadowed his more illustrious international teammate Christian Pulisic in the top flight this season, with the Chelsea man in and out of his team, although he did assist the Weah goal in Qatar.
Marsch may not mind too much if his home country underperform at the World Cup if it means he gets two of his most important players back to West Yorkshire earlier and unscathed, as he knows he needs to keep getting results when the Whites return to action to avoid slipping back towards the relegation zone.