The Athletic journalist Phil Hay was impressed by Ezgjan Alioski’s assist for Stuart Dallas’ winner as Leeds United beat Manchester City 2-1 on Saturday.
However, the ex-Yorkshire Evening Post reporter admits that the 29-year-old is no left-back after fans pointed out how erratic he played at the Etihad.
Alioski’s displays this season have gathered a lot of attention from Leeds supporters with the North Macedonia international struggling to cope with playing at left-back in the Premier League.
The former Lugano winger’s contract at Elland Road expires at the end of the season and Football Insider has reported he’s agreed a pre-contract deal with Galatasaray.
It wouldn’t be the biggest blow in the world to lose Alioski and Hay has suggested he feels the same way.
Writing on The Athletic website, Hay said: “The problem with Alioski is that he’s not really a left-back. So for as long as you persist with him there, you’re not as strong or as balanced as you could be.
“That pass though…what a peach.”
▪️ Manchester City – 29
▪️ Leeds – 2
▪️ Manchester City – 1
▪️ Leeds – 2
— Tom Carnduff (@TomC_22) April 10, 2021
Seven more games with Alioski?
Alioski has been such a good character to have in the squad since he arrived from Lugano in 2017 among Victor Orta’s first batch of Elland Road recruits.
Since then, the North Macedonian has made 164 appearances in all competitions for the Yorkshire giants, scoring 22 goals and supplying 17 assists in the process – with one of those assists setting up Dallas’ winner at Man City on Saturday.
However, Alioski’s flashes of brilliance have come few and far between with the 29-year-old not exactly showing he can be a Premier League-level left-back on a consistent basis.
He’s not a left-back at all, really.
Marcelo Bielsa loves to have attack-minded full-backs and that’s why Dallas usually starts in that role if there’s a fully fit and available squad at the manager’s disposal.
Alioski does suit the role from an attacking point of view but when he’s called on to do his defensive duties, to put it as kindly as possible, he’s really not great.
We always knew that if we were going to turn into an established Premier League club, only a select few of the Championship mainstays will be able to hold down their spots in the top-flight.
As Alioski’s out of contract in the summer and also set to turn 30 next season, it does seem like a natural time to part ways and let him go and impress elsewhere.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites want to sign this “unique” Premier League player as they prepare to offload Rodrigo.