Leeds United’s recruitment Monday continues with the signing of Carlisle ace Liam McCarron.
The youngster has joined the club for a nominal fee and will predominantly join the development squad for the season ahead.
McCarron began to turn heads last season when featuring for the first team at Brunton Park, making a total of 20 appearances and making one assist.
Predominantly a forward during his time in the youth ranks, McCarron has found grace in changing his position to either flank.
The 18-year old is heralded for his instinctive dribbling, pace and his work rate; the youngster could soon be a player we see on the periphery of the first team as Marcelo Bielsa looks to add wingers to his squad.
The Leeds head coach is known for allowing a small group of players and utilising the youth setup at clubs, Bielsa has overseen the emergence of Jamie Shackleton, Aapo Halme, Mateusz Bogusz, Leif Davis and countless other youngsters at the club.
The signing of McCarron could allow for the singer to be the next big thing at Elland Road as Leeds enter another tough Championship season.
Are you excited about the prospect of McCarron? Do you think he could play a part in the upcoming season? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds began the transfer window at what could only be described as a snails pace. The only rumours that the club were featured in were the sales of key players and fans were beginning to get restless.
However, with the sales of Jack Clarke, the club have found money and new life to utilise the transfer market.
With the recent additions of Jack Harrison, Ben White and potentially Helder Costa, Leeds could look a different and more ferocious side come August. Here’s a review of how the Leeds side grade from A to D;
Goalkeeper - B
Leeds aren’t in a goalkeeping crisis like fans make out. In fact, they’re actually in quite a good position in terms of goalkeeper depth.
Kiko Casilla and Bailey Peacock-Farrell are both starting keepers in the Championship, they just both need to stop making bloody mistakes!
Backups like Kamil Miazek and Will Huffer look set for future places in the first team, with the latter now being a regular England youth international.
Centre-backs - B
The addition of Ben White makes a world of difference to Leeds’ depth at centre-back.
With the likes of Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson being first team options and capable of big plays, White adds youth, strength and the ability to play the ball out of defence that the side needs. Don’t be surprised for White to steal a starting spot in August.
Backups like Gaetano Berardi along with youth products like Aapo Halme and Pascal Strujk showing great potential, Leeds are now set in defence.
Full-backs - D
Right back will always belong to Luke Ayling, as long as he can get over that horrible slump. Backups Jamie Shackleton and Robbie Gotts will give Leeds are as strong a rotation should injury hit.
At left back, we have depth but who knows what the hell is going on? Barry Douglas needs to up his game, Alioski has shown a lot of positives in that position and will challenge for a starting spot. The returning Tom Pearce could be offered another loan spell or the opportunity to fight for his place.
Jack Harrison will again step out of Elland Road as he joins the club for his second spell.
The club look set to confirm his arrival for a second spell from parent club Manchester City.
Harrison will join the club again on a loan spell and is set to become an integral part of head coach Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical plans, having spent the first loan spell adapting his style to suit the club’s needs.
Leeds are said to have the option to purchase Harrison at the end of the season should they reach promotion from the Premier League.
The 22-year old will have a full preseason under his belt with Bielsa and could become an even better player from some of the fantastic glimpses we saw of his last year.
Although several fans weren’t as keen on the #1 MLS Draft pick, Harrison become an integral part of the club’s tactics and his link up play with makeshift left back Egzjan Alioski during his attacking spells showed a very versatile player.
Harrison could become a more attacking threat at Leeds with Bielsa having time to adapt his vision, skill and knowledge of the game could reap massive benefits.
The winger contributed three assists and four goals, one thunderb***** against Millwall and several passages of link up play has shown he can be a great contributor.
Although it’s not a world beating signing, it is a clever step in the right direction as they continue to reinforce a very threadbare squad.
Harrison has shown the promise he has and he does continue to hold on to the promise of being a fantastic footballer, this could be the season we reap the benefits.
Do you think we’ll see more from Harrison this season? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds United look set to bolster one of their key areas of need tomorrow.
The club look set to announce the signing of Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White on a season long loan.
The 21-year old had been heavily linked with a move to Elland Road; with Leeds attempting to include the option to purchase White at the end of the season.
It remains to be seen whether Leeds were successful with inserting a clause, believed to be around £5million for the talented youngster.
However, with the addition of Matt Clarke to the Seagulls defensive ranks and stalwarts Lewis Dunk, Dan Burn and Shane Duffy.
White had a very impressive season on loan at Peterborough last season and received several plaudits for his aerial ability, strength and ability to play the ball out of defence; a trait that Bielsa will look to utilise heavily.
The young centre back also featured against Leeds while on loan at Newport County in their impressive 2-1 against the Whites back in the 2017/18 season.
The addition of the defender adds to Leeds current ranks in which do rely heavily on the fitness of Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper; with both players spending time out injured last season Bielsa was only left with Gaëtano Berardi and Kalvin Phillips playing out of position.
White’s ability to play out of the park and his impressive strength will add strength and depth to a depleted ranks that could possibly see the addition of youngster Pascal Strujk to the first team.
Do you think the addition of White can help Leeds’ defensive leaks and who could you see him replace in the starting lineup? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
The lads are back in training, looking to impress Marcelo Bielsa for the second time but one is about to leave the ‘nest’.
Jack Clarke is expected to sign for Spurs tomorrow and the fans will wave goodbye to yet another promising youngster.
Myself with Jack Clarke
Clarke follows Vieira, Cook, Byram, Taylor and more out of the Elland Road door much to the sadness of most of the fans of Leeds United.
Many have already said that if the reported ten million quid is the fee, it is not a bad amount of money for a player who had only a year of his contract to go and had yet to convince MB that he was one of the first on first team team sheet.
What concerns me that the longer we stay out of the top division we face a continual ‘sacrificial lamb’ scenario to fund any players that may or may not come through the East Stand door as Jack Clarke collects his boots and says goodbye to his friends and teammates at Elland Road.
Even if he is to return on loan as expected, the gulf between a home grown star scrapping his way through the first team and a player on loan will soon show.
Clarke on the move
We, as a club came four games short of reaching the Premier League and that must be built on in our Centenary season. I for one will not be content in going back to a team that hangs around mid table like an uncle that, although is family, nobody wants at a party.
Bielsa waved his magic wand last season and the players reacted superbly, giving the fans the best season they’ve had in a very long time.
But surely the powers that be must realise that without additions the same players cannot be expected to reproduce a season like the last one, if they do they are sadly mistaken.
I wish Jack Clarke the best, as I did when Lewis, Ronaldo, Sam and Charlie went to pastures new.
Hopefully one day the players that come through our wonderful academy will fulfil their dreams in a white shirt and the doors at Elland Road will remain shut with a sign outside saying ‘Sorry not for sale, bugger off!’
By Keith Ingham
Leeds United are far from a club flush with cash to make summer additions.
This can be epitomised with the sale of Ronaldo Vieira to Sampdoria for a fee of £6million with future incentives.
Vieira became the latest sacrificial lamb that kept the club afloat in the summer transfer market, following the likes of Lewis Cook and Sam
This summer, the same will happen again with Jack Clarke, who is currently in London attending a medical in a transfer to Spurs.
Clarke had hit the ground running for Leeds with an incomprehensible solo effort against Vile and was the catalyst for Pablo Hernandez’s winner against the Blunts.
However, against Boro away he was taken ill and missed several games with a viral infection.
Whether the illness had impacted his mental well-being or fitness, the Clarke that returned was not the one who’s skill and ferocity brought fear to opposing defenders and joy to the Leeds faithful.
Had you asked whether Clarke was worth the rumoured £10million upfront with the first option to take him on a temporary basis back against Villa, I’d have been outraged. Now, I believe that should be enter the promised land, these sales have to happen.
It was said Bielsa had promised the club that Vieira’s value would double if he’d have stayed for the season and this is where many fans outrage will come from.
Picture Don Revie permitting the sales of the young Johnny Giles, Peter Lorimer or Billy Bremner to keep the clubs books looking good? No. So why now?
The recent confirmed reports that Villa Wolves and Bournemouth passed FFP rules even after making such heavy losses shows the gamble is worth the risk.
So Clarke becomes the next sacrificial lamb to make the club solvent enough to spend some dough, let’s hope they know what they’re doing this summer and bring in the right players in.
Either way, another season, another youngster gone. Who’s next? The rise of stars like Halme, Shackleton, Gotts and Edmundson gives us hope and potential dismay in the same breathe.
By Ryan Ingham
So, despite all the promise and the fabulous football we played at times this season, we ended up with a third place finish and dumped out of the Play-Offs by Frank Lampard’s Derby.
A shambolic second leg saw us go 2 goals up in the tie, only to go out 3 – 4 on aggregate having given Derby goals thanks to a defensive cock-up, a penalty and a one man advantage for the final crucial part of the game. How did it all come to this?
Well, for me, we go right back to last season, a season when we again played some decent football before Christmas, got ourselves comfortably into the Play-Off places with 39 points and then gradually saw it all unravel in the second half of the season adding only 21 more, to end the season in a disappointing 13th place.
We all concluded that Heckingbottom wasn’t the man to take us forward but also that we needed “four or five positions strengthened” as Marcelo would eventually tell us. That’s four or five new players better than we already had.
We secured Marcelo Bielsa in time for pre-season and he very quickly whittled down his available squad to 15 or so players he considered were good enough for the Championship campaign and, over time we saw an impressive improvement in the existing players we retained and certainly in their fitness although the failings we all know they have were always likely to resurface.
But what of the players we brought in to supposedly strengthen that squad? In came Lewis Baker, Jamal Blackman, Barry Douglas, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Izzy Brown.
In hindsight that was a motley crew that has not actually given us much at all! Lewis Baker started two games and then eventually was recalled by Chelsea and farmed out to Reading in the hope of finding him some game time; he clearly didn’t register on Bielsa’s quality scale.
Jamal Blackman was unlucky; just when it looked like he’d win the number 1 shirt he broke a leg and also went back to his parent club. Barry Douglas? Well, he featured regularly until injury struck him down but the general consensus was that he was not the same Barry Douglas who flew down the wing for Wolves the previous season.
Jack Harrison? He amassed 34 starts this season and played in every one of the 25 games played since Christmas.
Once again though, I doubt he has come up to the exacting specifications laid down by Marcelo and with Marcelo proclaiming that Daniel James would have been the boost we needed to make automatic promotion, I guess that tells us all we need to know about Jack.
Patrick Bamford is a conundrum; in between injuries he weighed in with 9 goals in 18 starts and a few sub appearances but I’d say he missed twice as many as he scored and good chances at that.
Against Reading the Royals fans pleaded with us to “Give it to Bamford” so poor was his shooting that night. Against Derby at Elland Road last week he was dreadful too and mentally didn’t seem to have the right head on as he continued to barge and foul his way through the game despite being on a yellow card. Izzy Brown? I’ll say no more.
We added Kiko Casilla in January of course and, for a time, he looked to have settled in to the Championship and we hardly thought about the goalkeeping position until that moment at Ipswich…
since then we’ve thought about little else!
All in all we have to admit that the acquisitions we made this season were not good enough; that meant that in essence Marcelo was battling through this season with pretty much the same squad, with the same limitations that showed it wasn’t quite up to the task last season and, despite an obvious improvement in the style of play and the fitness, those same old issues with those players were still in there, likely to show themselves any moment.
Liam Cooper had a good season, but every now and again we know he’ll have “a moment” and sadly we saw it in our most crucial game of the season.
Gaetano, bless him, is always likely to do something rash and we saw that too. Alioski was an almost ever present until his injury but boy does he stray offside a lot and does he waste some crosses.
Pontus is mostly reliable but he turns like an oil tanker and can get caught out.
We also lost a couple of our what I considered were amongst our better players too: Ronnie Vieira was certain to have played a big part for Marcelo had he remained and Samu Sáiz too was a big miss in my estimation.
To have got this squad to the level they’ve achieved is a miracle and Bielsa should be very proud of that, but ultimately our recruitment failed him, and, if we look at the vast number of players we have recruited in the last couple of seasons, most have not broken into the regular first XI and have since been moved on – more than 20 players were shipped out following the end of last season for example.
We are almost back where we started 12 months ago in terms of the squad, almost but not quite. Bielsa has made a huge difference and that’s why we were competing with the top six and not the mid-table also rans this season.
We have a defined style of play, tremendous organisation on the pitch and a core of decent Championship players. But we now need to add to the group with real quality for once.
If we can retain Marcelo, retain the best of our current players, add in the 4 or 5 that we didn’t manage to find this time last year, then we’ll have a chance.
By David Watkins
Keith Ingham gives us his final diary of a Leeds fan for what has been a season of so many highs and lows. WALL would like to thank him for his tireless efforts during the season to make sure we were updated with footballing news not just from LS11, but around the world.
Remembering the 56 people who died in the Bradford City fire.
34 years ago today.
Aston Villa come from a goal down to beat West Brom 2-1 in their Playoff Semi Final First Leg at Villa Park. West Brom’s goal scorer Dwight Gayle was later sent off for two bookable offences.
Playoff Semi Final. 1st Leg
Derby County v Leeds
Team News: Leeds make one change; Gaetano Berardi comes in for Pontus Jansson.
Team: Casilla, Ayling, Berardi, Cooper(c), Dallas, Phillips, Forshaw, Klich, Hernandez, Harrison, Roofe.
Derby County 0-1 Leeds United; Leeds take the lead in Pride Park with a spirited performance.
Thanks to Leedsunited.com.
Kemar Roofe gives Leeds a one goal lead to take to Elland Road for the second leg. Superb move and deadly finish from United’s top scorer.
Marcelo Bielsa: "We fought a lot, we were very focused and we defended and attacked according to the needs of the game. I thought we were mature.
At the beginning of the game, Derby dominated a little bit and then, for the last 35 minutes of the first half, we dominated. Our idea was to keep dominating to seal the win at the beginning of the second half.
We had chances to score both before we scored and after we scored, then we had 10-15 minutes where we suffered. At the end of the game it was a balanced game and we controlled the ball.”
Frank Lampard: "I'm not sure if it's a penalty - I think it's one of those you can get or not get. The referee gave it, but the linesman has decided it was clear enough to not be a penalty. It's like human VAR, but with the actual VAR, the only way they turn decisions, as you hear from the rules, is if it's a clear and obvious challenge. It wasn't. I can't understand it.
“I don't think we did enough. I thought, in the early parts of the game, we were good, created a couple of chances and we were positive. When I spoke before the game, I said that Leeds were favourites because of where they are in the league and because they are experienced.
Five games ago we were five points off the play-off positions and the lads have accepted that challenge and got into the play-offs. It's now up to us to show the true team that we are."