There have not been any hints that stricken Leeds United midfielder Adam Forshaw is planning to retire, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.
Forshaw, 29, has not played for Leeds since September 2019 due to a serious hip injury that has required surgery.
It has been over a year since the ex-Middlesbrough midfielder went under the knife and he still doesn’t seem to be anywhere near back to fitness, which has led to concerns that he could be forced into an early retirement.
Ex-Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Hay has shared a comprehensive update on Forshaw’s situation on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast on The Athletic website.
Marcelo Bielsa seems positive about the midfielder’s fitness but Hay has major doubts about whether he’ll play this season.
“It’s difficult with Forshaw. You don’t ask about him constantly because the answer tends to be the same – he isn’t quite ready,” said Hay.
“Bielsa will make positive noises about him and did again [on Thursday], something along the lines of, ‘he’s in a positive cycle, he’s in a positive moment just now’, but also qualified that by saying this needs to continue for a while yet and he isn’t ready for the Under-23s.
“When you’ve been absent for 18 months, it’s impossible for anybody to spin this as a natural run for a player who’s had fitness problems. This has clearly been a chronic and extremely difficult ailment for him to get over.
“There’s no doubt in my head that Bielsa will still like to use him and no doubt he’ll see him as a member of his squad at full tilt and at full fitness. But when that’s going to happen, nobody seems able to say.
“I did ask specifically, ‘how is Forshaw going to cope in getting back up to the levels of a Bielsa team and, more to the point, a Bielsa team in the Premier League?’. And Bielsa did say, ‘I can’t really answer that. I can’t really answer how difficult that’s going to be for him because it’s a process rather than an overnight flick of a switch. He’ll either get there or he won’t.
“But to read between the lines of that and given that we’re into March now, I don’t expect to see Forshaw play for the first team this season.”
It was then discussed about whether retirement could be on the cards for Forshaw when host Dan Moylan claimed he thinks it could be the end of the midfielder’s career.
However, Hay does not want to make any suggestions without speaking to the player first.
He said: “I wouldn’t like to say that without speaking to him and certainly nobody at the club has ever said to me – to cut to the chase, we’re talking about retirement or something like that – nobody has ever said that to me and nobody has intimated that might be on his mind.”
Stand by him
Forshaw must be going through a ridiculously tough time where we’re sure the thought of retirement has come into his head.
He’s been out of the game for a year and a half, he’s approaching 30 and might always be affected by the injury he’s battled in the last 18 months.
However, Forshaw is still contracted to Leeds until the end of next season and the club needs to stick by their player through this tough period.
If he is fit enough to play again then that is superb news and we hope he’s gradually allowed to play for the Under-23s as much as he needs to in order to get back to full fitness.
And if he can get into the first-team, hopefully next season, then he should be handed that opportunity because this is more than just getting him back for the sake of Leeds, it’s about getting him back to essentially save his career.
We don’t want to see Forshaw leave Leeds at the end of next season after almost three entire seasons without playing because he’ll struggle to get a gig elsewhere.
But if he can break back into the Leeds United team and even play once in the Premier League, that will do him the world of good as he heads into the latter stages of his career.
Retirement is an option but we really hope it doesn’t come to that for a talented player who’s been dealt a tough hand.
In other Leeds United news, this Sky Sports pundit suggests Leeds should get rid of this 22-year-old first-team player.