By George Overhill

16th Sep, 2022 | 4:52pm

Leeds United play it ultra safe with surprise player included in Premier League squad

Alfie McCalmont is the “one player who does jump out” from the Leeds United Premier League squad announced this week because he won’t play, according to Phil Hay.

The midfielder has never featured for the club in the top flight, having been out on loan with Oldham Athletic and Morecambe respectively for the past two seasons, and was available to leave Elland Road in the summer for the right offer.

That didn’t arrive so he is a surprise addition to the squad list as a player over 21 who has to be registered, and Hay feels his inclusion is down to Jesse Marsch taking precautions against the sort of injury crisis that engulfed last season.

In his contribution to The Athletic’s article on all Premier League squads he wrote of the Northern Ireland man: “He is 22 now and his inclusion in the list suggests head coach Jesse Marsch wants to make sure that if he is ever caught badly short, McCalmont is not beyond his reach.

“But realistically, Leeds are well-stocked in that area of the pitch now and are unlikely to need McCalmont to play.”

Security

Having signed Tyler Adams and Marc Roca to replace the departing Kalvin Phillips it is unlikely that the situation that arose last term of pressing two defenders into make-shift holding midfield roles will happen again, but knowing the injury luck at Elland Road you can never be too sure.

The American has impressed since his arrival, and his Spanish teammate is quietly establishing himself in the side.

With Mateusz Klich now fulfilling the role of impact sub for Marsch, and Adam Forshaw still an option there is solid senior back-up, before the highly-rated signing from Manchester City Darko Gyabi is turned to.

With all that ahead of McCalmont it would essentially be a disaster to see him on the field any time soon from a squad point of view, although he obviously wouldn’t see it that way.

Fans would have loved to see that squad spot go to a senior attacking arrival but the tribulations of transfer deadline day meant that was impossible, just as it also removed Dan James from filling it.

With the under-21 options not required to be registered, and some very exciting ones spread across the squad there is a lot to feel positive about for the rest of the season, but it is still easy to feel that it is short of a couple of established operators, especially with Stuart Dallas also included but some way off featuring.

In other Leeds United news, one of the midfield options won’t be knocked out of contention lightly considering he won a physical fight with his senior teammate to gain respect earlier in his career.