By George Overhill

25th Oct, 2022 | 11:10am

Jesse Marsch choice of Sam Greenwood over hot Leeds United prospect for Fulham weird - Adam Pope

Jesse Marsch’s decision to start Sam Greenwood in holding midfield for Leeds United and leave Darko Gyabi out was the “weirdest one of all” says Adam Pope.

The summer signing from Manchester City was in the bench for the devastating 3-2 loss at home to Fulham on Sunday (23 October) while Greenwood was surprisingly picked for his first start of the season in place of the injured Tyler Adams.

It seemed the perfect chance to hand the highly rated 18-year-old his Whites debut with an opening at his natural position, and Pope was as baffled as many that the manager went for Greenwood, 20, who is usually seen as an attacking player and has barely featured so far himself over even Mateusz Klich.

Speaking on Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet during Monday’s episode (24 October, 3min) the Kaiser Chief’s Simon Rix made the point that it will be a knock the summer signing’s confidence to be overlooked for someone who isn’t naturally suited to that position.

In response Pope said: “That’s a good point about the Gyabi thing because he is definitely one of those two that sits in front of the back four.

“Klich, we all know over the years as been better in a more attacking role and if you want to slip him in at 10 in this sort of set up he seems more suited to that role that he would playing to the right of Marc Roca.

“You’ve got to think that Gyabi would sit there. It seemed a very strange choice, that was the weirdest one of all of them, although Greenwood did okay.”

Missed opportunity

The inclusion of Greenwood on the team sheet to face Fulham would have been a surprise if he had been there in an attacking capacity, since he had been granted less than half an hour on the pitch all season so far.

That in itself is a cause for concern since Marsch singled him out for praise when he arrived as the quickest in the squad to pick up his instructions but has apparently gone off him since.

With Joe Gelhardt similarly overlooked and recent favourite Crysencio Summerville back on the bench, it had an air of desperation to see that the American had suddenly now remembered Greenwood existed.

But starting him as one of the two at the base of the midfield it made even less sense, especially with Gyabi available and showing good progress this season, having graduated to and started for the England under-19s in the previous international break.

If Marsch hasn’t trusted Greenwood to do a job going forward all year then why throw him further back when there is a player on the bench who performs that exact role?

And when Gyabi was talked up as an exciting prospect in the summer, in the face of a somewhat deflated reaction from fans who saw him as effectively a swap with cash for the club’s leading midfield option Kalvin Phillips, why not give him the chance now the opening has come up?

There is a lot wrong at Leeds United just now, with an increasing sense that some involved are just hoping for the best without having a real plan, and this is emblematic of that.

Maybe Gyabi wouldn’t have made the difference, but if he isn’t due an audition in those circumstances it devalues the signing and dampens his motivation.

If Marsch felt the need to entrust a senior player like Klich in that situation it would have made some sense, but going for Greenwood made very little.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has questioned why the 49ers are continuing to hold back as the club declines on and off the pitch.