Steve Evans made himself quite the villain during his post-match press conference on Saturday, following the defeat to Watford in the FA Cup 5th round.
During the press interviews, Evans decided to go all out on why young winger Jordan Botaka was included in the matchday squad. Evans has previously gone on record of his criticism of the Congolese attacker, citing that he does not think the player has put in enough effort to warrant a first team place.
Evans didn't seem to give any support to Botaka as he stated the only reason Jordan was in the team was because 'he had no-one else'.
Although this may be his own opinion, the fact that he can openly speak about the issues with Botaka's squad status is downright unprofessional. No manager should be allowed to speak about one of his players in that way.
The fact that he has decided to speak openly about this issue isn't the worst of it all though. The real fact is that Evans is simply not giving the winger any sort of chance, even after his impressive performances for the Development squad.
The 22-year old winger has recently put out stellar performances in the Under21 games against Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, scoring in the later. In my opinion, if a player is starting to prove his worth in the reserves, then you should be seeing what he can do in the first team, especially with the lack of goals and the sheer lack of interest from players like Mirco Antenucci.
When Evans states that Botaka 'hasn't opened doors' he seems to forget that the game before he started his role Jordan was Man of the Match against Brighton. In Evans second game in charge against Charlton, the winger came on and produced some fantastic skill before putting the ball on a plate for Tom Adeyemi, who sliced it horrifically wide.
As for the fact that the wide man never tracks back, I urge you to watch this video and make your own mind up.
While other players shuffle back, Botaka sprints 70 yards to win back the ball. Another issue is apparently his lack of end product, our midfield has only contributed 9 assists this season in the league. With Cook Mowatt, Taylor and Doukara only having 5 between them.
Botaka has constantly gone on record stating how desperate he is for a chance at Leeds and how much he is committed to the cause and yet Evans is still playing Doukara out of position and Antenucci even though the Italian begged for a move away from Elland Road. Let's not forget he a self his country to let him stay at Elland Road to focus on his Leeds career.
This isn't an isolated case for Evans either, his constant approval of the calamitous Scott Wootton proves that he is picking favourites over giving chances to players who could really change the game for Lufc, like impressive youngster Lewie Coyle.
Speaking to someone who is close to the club, he informed me of how Evans had changed training this week and allowed players more freedom on the ball. Botaka was said to be a stand-out player along with others who adapted to this really well.
I know that Jordan hasn't set the world alight when he has been on the pitch, but his abilities and position are something that Leeds really need to start utilising. When he has had a chance, he has proved that his skill and pace can be a real asset, forcing opposition players to really get at him and double mark the player. The space this creates for other players like Cook, Doukara and Dallas could be phenomenal and actually get more chances for goals.
I'm not saying that Botaka should start every game, or that his '5* skill rating' means he's our best player. I'm saying that our season is over and we need to focus on who can come in and make a difference for next season, players like Coyle, Botaka and Phillips really need game time to see if they can cut it and lambasting them t the press and keeping them out of the squad is just sheer incompetence.
And to Mr Evans, if you've got an opinion about a player or don't think he's up to scratch, speak to the player about it and fuck off to the pie stand after. Loud mouth Scottish prick!
By Ryan Ingham
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