By Anthony Onifade

14th Mar, 2023 | 4:40pm

Phil Hay shares admission on Leeds United ace Wilfried Gnonto after strange Javi Gracia selection decisions

Phil Hay believes Leeds United youngster Wilfried Gnonto will still have a huge role to play in the Whites’ relegation dogfight, after Javi Gracia’s strange decision to drop him.

The 19-year-old Italian international has quickly risen to prominence at Elland Road through his spectacular individual performances since his move from FC Zurich last summer, going on to become one of the club’s most prized assets in so little time.

However, since Javi Gracia came to the club he’s fallen down the pecking order starting just once in the league in the Spaniard’s four games in charge so far.

And Hay speaking on his The Phil Hay Show [13 March, 17m:10s] believes the talented youngster still remains an “influential” part of the Whites’ ambitions this season.

He said: “It can’t all be on him, it can’t be just him getting flogged to death because nobody else is particularly providing inspiration.

“But, I think again, to take his substitute appearance on Saturday, it’s hard not to feel like he’s going to be very influential towards the back end of the season, or needs to be very influential in that period.”

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Best player

When you’re locked in a nervous and intense relegation battle, you need players to stand up and make things happen especially when a team is in desperate need of goals, and Gnonto is arguably the best player to provide that in the Elland Road camp.

Sure, the wonderkid’s performance levels have dropped since he smashed in that sensational strike at Old Trafford against Manchester United, but Hay is right, Gnonto’s not the only one that should be flogged because of the team’s poor form.

He arguably still remains the club’s most electric attacker in the final third, and there needs to be an understanding that he is still young, with a lot to learn.

The Leeds faithful will be hoping Gracia hasn’t pulled him because of his drop in form, but to protect him from a potential burnout considering his rise to fame since his summer move. He’s already attracting interest from one of Europe’s elite, so the club surely have to convince him that he is a huge part of the club’s future.

There is no doubt, that the little Italian still remains the club’s best hope of survival, as his assist against Brighton at the weekend showed.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has shared a massive regret of the Elland Road faithful as the club made an official announcement a few days ago.

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