Still to come...

Two in, two out was the final days transfer trading for Leeds United as Ramon Nunez and Adam Clayton sealed deals at Elland Road, with Alan Sheehan and Lubomir Michalik heading off to pastures new.

Overall, Leeds have signed a total of eleven new players over the summer, all of which are listed below.

Player Pos Age From Cost
Adam Clayton CM 21 Man City £250,000*
Alex Bruce CB/DM 25 Ipswich £200,000*
Billy Paynter STR 25 Swindon Free
Federico Bessone LB 26 Swansea Free
Kasper Schmeichel GK 23 Notts County Free
Lloyd Sam WNG 25 Charlton Free
Neill Collins CB 26 Preston £100,000*
Paul Connolly RB 26 Derby Free
Ramon Nunez AM 24 Free Agent Free
Ross McCormack STR 24 Cardiff £500,000*
Sanchez Watt WNG/STR 19 Arsenal Loan

*All Leeds United’s transfers have been ‘undisclosed fees’ so the figures used are estimates from other sources or guess-work on my part.

The early concerns when the 2009/10 season ended was who would replace Jermaine Beckford after his move to Everton was confirmed? Over the last few weeks however, Simon Grayson has given us a dizzying array of goalscoring options and left us looking like one of the most dangerous teams in the league.

Luciano Becchio has started the season firing on all cylinders, whilst new additions Ross McCormack and Billy Paynter give us some proven goalscoring options. Add to that the emergence of Davide Somma as a real candidate to the starting XI, and you start to wonder what all the fuss was about?

Even more threatening are the two wide-men, Sanchez Watt and Lloyd Sam, who both have pace to burn and can go round a player with ease. It’s been a long time since Leeds United looked this threatening going forward, but Simon Grayson has really delivered in an attacking sense and we continue to produce goals from all areas of the pitch.

Whilst the attacking options look good, the defence is an entirely different story. Neill Collins has been the only good addition in this area, giving pretty consistent performances in all his games so far. The two full-backs, Federico Bessone and Paul Connolly however, haven’t impressed and with Richard Naylor somehow holding down a first team place, our defence would appear to have more holes in it than the German Bismarck.

A lot has been said about the need for a holding midfielder, but for me, that’s simply papering over the cracks. The real issue is the defence, and what we need is a centre-back with some pace – but maybe the addition of Alex Bruce will solve that?

Overall, the additions have been pretty good from Grayson. The defence has it’s flaws, but it could just be a gelling process that will sort itself with time? In the meantime, the best signing of this summer has been keeping us in it.

Son-of-Scum, Kasper Schmeichel has been an absolute revelation since his surprise unveiling early-doors. His command of the area, handling skills and impressive shot-stopping ability instantly impressed the Leeds United faithful, and the keeper could prove to be the difference between the play-offs and an instantly forgettable season.

With so many players added to the squad, naturally, some had to leave – below is a full list of the players that have left Elland Road;

Player Pos Age To Cost
Alan Martin GK 21 Barrow Loan
Alan Sheehan LB 23 Swindon Released
Andrew Milne CB 19 Barrow Released
Casper Ankergren GK 30 Brighton Released
Jermaine Beckford STR 26 Everton Free
Liam Darville CB 19 Tranmere Loan
Lubomir Michalik CB 27 Carlisle Loan
Paul Dickov STR 37 Oldham Released
Rui Marques CB 32 Unattached Released
Tom Elliot STR 19 Rotherham Loan
Tom Lees CB 19 Bury Loan
Tresor Kandol STR 28 Unattached Released

In total, twelve players have left Elland Road this summer with five of them on loan elsewhere. Obviously, the biggest loss was Jermaine Beckford, but as we’ve already seen, Simon Grayson has done an excellent job of sorting our attacking options out.

It’s good to see the youngsters, Darville, Elliot, Lee and Martin getting some valuable first-team experience elsewhere, although Simon Grayson’s record so far doesn’t suggest we’re ever going to see them in a Leeds United shirt.

With Aidy White and Ben Parker out injured, I think releasing Alan Sheehan was a mistake. I remain hopeful that it’s just a gelling process for Fede Bessone, but he’s hardly set the world alight with his performances so far and whilst Sheehan was never the best left-back, he was a reliable option if needed.

With twelve players out, you can’t complain too much. We knew the squad was a bit heavy on deadwood, and Grayson has done his best to address that. Andy Robinson remains a bit of a stalling point, but I still expect his contract to be terminated in the coming weeks (if no loan offer is forthcoming).

I suspect there will be other players heading out on-loan throughout the season, most notably, Mike Grella who has fallen so far down the pecking order now that he’s lost his place on the bench. There’s also the likes of Leigh Bromby, Andy Hughes and Jason Crowe that are not going to be happy making the numbers up and may be eager to get some games elsewhere.

I said before the season started that I thought the play-offs were a realistic aim, and after a promising start and some excellent additions, I think Simon Grayson is heading in the right direction. I keep coming back to the defence as a concern, but if we can sort that out, then we’re looking very strong.

  • Jim Barnett

    Excellent round-up.

    I agree with all of your sentiments except your analysis of the defence. For me, Paul Connolly’s been the only one who has shown solid consistency – defending well and supporting the right flank as and when required. Nearly all of the goals we have conceded have come from mistakes from the other three alongside him, and that’s where the root weakness in the team lies. Kasper’s in for a busy season…

    • TSS

      @jimbob0802

      Can’t make my mind up with Connolly. He was all over the place against Watford, but has shown signs of quality at times. That’s what I mean by the gelling process though – they’ve all shown glimpses of ability, so hopefully it’ll come together for them sooner rather than later.

    • Dje

      As Collins usually plays the ‘Bessone’ side of the back two, I am hoping that when Bessone gets his defensive act in order (or, just when Parker is fit again) then Collins should have a more comfortable time of it. Equally, I think Naylor is cushioned a little by Connolly’s defensive work-rate (not always successful, but at least he’s not gone walkabout like Bessone on the left.)

      —–

      Yep, Sheehan would have been useful. But then so would have Marques and Michalik compared to Naylor and Collins.

  • Craig

    Sorry to be pedantic TSS but wasn’t Paul Dickov only on a contract until the end of last season? Surely, technically, he was unattached when joining Oldham and therefore not ‘released’ by us?

    • TSS

      @craig Yeah, I was aware of that but we chose not to keep him on, so we’ve basically released him.

  • Bill Fox

    So if this is it now, the full strength (all fit) starting XI:

    Kasper

    Connolly
    Kisnorbo
    Collins (unless Davenport is available)
    Bessone

    Howson
    Killa
    Snodgrass
    Sam

    Becchio
    McCormack

    Significant subs:

    Watt/Somma/Nunez/Paynter

    Thoughts?

  • TSS

    Midfield is Sam – Snoddy – Howson/Killa – Watt

    You can’t drop Watt – Overall he’s been one of our top three players, whilst Killa goes missing for entire games. The main strength to our team is the pace of the wide-men, Sam and Watt, Larry would be foolish to break that up simply to accommodate another player.

    Can’t see Becchio holding a starting place either. It’ll be Paynter when fit, with Somma biting at his heels.

    Is Gradel not a significant sub by the way?

    • Craig

      I agree TSS. For me the strongest team is:

      Kasper

      Connolly
      Kisnorbo
      Collins/Davenport
      Parker

      Howson/Killa
      Snodgrass
      Sam/Gradel
      Watt

      Paynter
      McCormack

      Significant subs:

      Watt/Somma/Nunez/Becchio/White

  • Craig

    I’m glad you pointed out that the most significant thing Grayson has done is brought in players who have enabled us to play differently. It is what Grayson said he’d be doing over the summer and was the reason I (and others) wasn’t concerned about the fact that we didn’t seem to be signing a Beckfordesque replacement. This style of play will be less reliant on one man playing well and I think the new style brings added kudos and spirit to the whole team.

  • tim campbell

    I agree attacking wise we are surely the most potent in the league. With premiership loans on the cards in the coming weeks I still hold out hope for a stronger defence

  • TSS

    My team would be;


    Kasper

    Parker – Kisnorbo – Bruce – Connolly

    Sam – Snoddy – Howson – Watt

    McCormack – Somma


    I guess the biggest “shock” would be Bruce in defence, but I’m only suggesting this when Kis returns. Bruce has the pace, Kis has the leadership. I think this could be a formidable partnership, because, let’s face it, Kis covered Naylor all last season, so guiding a youngster will be a stroll in the park.

  • Lewis g

    people in the teams are putting snodgrass as a cm, i doubt hell be as effective in this role,

    for me

    kasper
    parker
    kis
    collins
    an on loan rb
    sam and watt on wings for now with gradel, snodgrass,nunez and mcormack providing competition, bit of rotation will keep defences not aware or what we possess on the wings, killa and howson have got to be in the team, howson and kill have both been impressive in centre with the passing ability,
    upfront
    mccormack or somma with nunez or becchio playing an almost cam role so we keep the formation we currently have

  • yorkwhite

    I think our strength in depth when it comes to attacking options would defiantly earn us a play off place. When fit we have at least two quality players for every position going forward. I also think that Kasper is a class act but I don’t think he’ll hang around in the championship, if we want to keep him we need to be pushing for the top. As for the defence we need to be patient and see what happens when Kisnorbo and Parker are back. I suspect this is where we’ll see action in January if things don’t improve.

  • Bill Fox

    I like the idea of Snoddy in the centre of midfield and perhaps could be persuaded but it’s an unknown quantity as we stand today.

  • Dje

    I notice we are all reverting to type with the 4-4-2 formation. Now he has brought in half of the professional football association onto the Leeds’ books, I wonder if Grayson will go back to test his 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation.

    For better or worse.

  • OLIJ

    KASPER
    CONNOLY PADDY BRUCE WHITE

    SAM KILLA HOWSON WATT

    BECCHIO MCORMACK

    • Craig

      @OLIJ

      Nah, White isn’t a defender. Grayson has stated that he’s grooming him as a midfielder.

      • TheReaper08

        Grayson is grooming White, isn’t that illegal ?

        • TSS

          @TheReaper08

          Not if he’s under contract and particularly good looking.

  • DN

    Nunez and McCormack are twenty four aren’t they?

  • Shez

    Having read the above full-strength line-ups I still think we are weak midfield, where as TSS points out Kilkenny tends to go missing, as does Howson. They are in my opinion not the best partnership in terms of dealing with “strong-arm” Championship midfields. Examples for me of this are Derby at home and Forest for 20 minutes where we were completely overun. I think we’ve had a good solid start to the season, but Larry has had to abandon his 4-5-1 pretty early on and has reverted to Watt upfront with Beccio. I actually think Beccio would be a first team name, ahead of Paytner, he’s worked his socks of this season and I haven’t seen enough of Paytner to really sense he is ahead of Beccio. Also the defence is not good enough in my opinion with Bessone in the team, so the sooner Parker is back the better. Kisnorbo will be a fair well yet for sure, so I still think we needed to have signed a much pacier centre back than we have at the moment. Overall though, especially on the wings we have got a very good array of talent. Snoddy will be back fairly soon too. All good. This division is nowt special, so we should really be capable of a top ten finish if not play-offs in my opinion

  • Shez

    Missed the “H” in Becchio. Shocking! been a long day!

  • Max

    Ankergren was released, rather than leaving on a free. You’re also missing Ryan Jones (GK, released). I would expect to see Hatfield go out on loan as well (I think he was given an extended contract in the summer), though he may be being kept on just to provide consistency in the reserves.

    Bessone and Connolly – I think they’ll come good over time. We’ve replaced 4 out of our first choice back 5 (3 if you assume Collins was already there), and we’re playing different wingers, AND we’ve changed the system. Clayton looked terrible with his first touch in his first game, but he’d only joined the squad the previous afternoon.

    Of those new players I’ve seen, I’d say the squad has strength/depth in skill, notably in midfield, and has proven strikers (and, arguably, some proven-at-championship-level defenders) but lacks some pace. If you watch the LUTV highlights of the Forest game, Eddie Gray pretty much gasps at the difference in pace between the teams during the first part of the game, and points out that we never played teams like that in League One. But Forest are one of the better teams in the division, were playing at home, and didn’t manage to win over the 90 mins.

  • TSS

    @DN Sorted that, was rushing a little.

    @Max Ryan Jones was only on a youth contract wasn’t he? It’s just professional players.

  • Shez

    Max is spot on with the pace issue. There’s a lack of it in central defence, sorry to harp on about it, but it’s true. Midfield needs one more addition. Step forward Prem Loan? Will Larry go for another Pacey central defender or utility mid/defender? Shame we missed out on Montgomery, he’d have been ideal in centre mid. Seeing as he likes freebies, I notice Jay Demerit is still unattached. Worth a punt?

  • paulg

    @Max
    The Forest game was very similar to the two Carling Cup games (Watford and Liverpool) last season – both games we struggled with the pace for the first 20 minutes or so, but got strong as the games went on. As at Forest.

    @Shez
    Millwall out-muscled us in midfield most times we met them in L1; yet we murdered them at ER a couple of weeks ago. There were similarities in the Forest games, where, once we got to terms with the pace (see above) we more than matched their midfield for the last 60-70 minutes. All teams / groups of players will have bad spells; I think that once we settle, Howson and Kilkenny may surprise a few people. I hope ……!!

  • TheGelderdAggro

    I disagree with comments stating we have the best attack in the league although we are certainly in the top three with only Cardiff and qpr above us. With the current players available my starting lineup would be a’s follows:

    Schmeichel
    Connolly
    Bruce
    Collins
    Johnson (remember how well he played in the playoffs in this position)
    Sam
    Howson
    Kilkenny
    Watt
    Somma
    Becchio(although his complete inability to take chances could see him replaced with nunez or gradel)

    With the squad at full fitness my lineup would be as follows:

    Schmeichel
    Connolly
    Kisnorbo
    Collins or Bruce (with naylor taking up a coaching role)
    Parker
    Sam
    Howson
    Kilkenny
    Snodgrass
    Watt
    Anyone of Paynter, Becchio or Somma with selection depending on goalscoring form

    Players breaking through: Johnson, gradel, Nunez, White, Clayton

  • hughzy

    kasper to me is our number 1 no dought

    connoly may not be the best rb in the division but hes better than crowe! bessone looks terrible and i am from swansea and i can tell you it isn’t just a blending in period hughes not much better and i havnt seen much of parker but people seem to rate him so looking forward to seeing him come back in. kisnorbo and davenport for me wen fit and if we sign i dont think collins has done much wrong but naylor shuould become ambasodor of football or somthing because hes been terrible id like to see bruce have a shot.

    i think that gradel is due a starting place hes not goin to be happy siting behind a a 19 year old loanie when theres not alot of difference between them apart from watt has better feet in my opinion and gradel has a higher work rate.
    snoddy is a definate but more central with sam looking to make the left wing berth his own i think theres alot of chopping and changing to be done to get the perfect balance in the center of midfield im very hopeful on nunez aswell!

    upfront for me everyone has jumped on loving becchio because he was all we had but if you think about it somma will score more goals hes taller and quicker and wont concede so many fouls and McCormack playing along side him i think the sining of paynter although on a free is a waste.

    kasper
    connoly/ kisnorbo / davenport or collins / parker
    gradel/ killa or snoddy / howson or nunez / sam
    somma / mccormack

  • saltburnwhite

    This is the best team in my opinion , back up options in (brackets) .can be used in a 4-1-2-3/ 5-4-1 / 4-3-3 etc .
    Having said that graysons doing a good job at minute so whatever he decides! also i know sam and couple of others are doing well at minute but snoddys in there because hes proven …we sill dont know how consistent sam will be yet .

    schmeichel
    (Higgs)
    connolly collins kisnorbo parker
    (Hughes) (Naylor) (Bromby) (white)
    Bruce
    (clayton)
    Howson Kilkenney
    (nunez) (Gradel)
    snodgrass Becchio McCormack
    (sam) (somma) (watt)

    • GRAYSONSBARMYARMY

      I like the formation it really fits the players, you could even see the back up team doing a good job as well :)

  • richard

    I notice there are plenty of scenarios in what people have picked, this just shows that we have a squad of plenty of quality and capable of competing, last year i thought the team pretty much picked itself, not due to 11 outstanding players but more the lack of depth to choose from.

  • hughzy

    i totaly agree with tss what is the point in playing a holding midfield player its a waste of a player as for 5 in defence which is what it would be pathetic were not playing chelsea every week its pushing a dynamic player like gradel, watt or sam who can turn a game

  • Side Before Self

    I know its all guesswork but the mail online put Collins transfer fee at 500,000 and Bruce’s at 300,000. That could make our total summer spend at 1.5 mill. Not terrible but a lot behind some of the teams in this division. As regards the players that have come in ive been impressed but not surprised by how good kasper is. Connelly has surprised me, i fully expected him to be rubbish but hes turning out decent enough. Bessone has surprised me too, i expected him to be decent and hes started a rubbish.

    Collins has been solid (at times) without being outstanding. Watt and Sam for me have been exceptional. And im not even worried about injuries or loss of form because we have Snoddy, Gradel and white as backup.

    Nunez and Clayton havent been seen enough to comment but i have high hopes for them, Nunez especially. The same can be said for Paynter and McCormack but im hoping the international break with give them time to recover/get match fit so ill reserve judgement.

    If all out players can play to the best of there ability (or hype) and we sign Davenport i expect a fully fit team to look like this:

    Schmeichel
    Connelly
    Davenport
    Collins
    Parker
    Sam
    Snodgrass
    Nunez
    Watt
    McCormack
    Becchio

    Subs
    Higgs
    Bruce
    Bessone
    Gradel
    Howson/Killkenny
    Paynter
    Somma

    Its a sign of how good our team could be that Howson, Kilkenny or Clayton could be relegated to squad players

  • Hugh Fox

    Schiemechel

    Collelly
    kisnorbo
    bruce
    parker

    sam
    killa
    howson
    watt

    becchio
    Mccormack

    anno theres no snodgrass in there bt i dnt tink hes better than sam or watt. i also dnt tink he wud work in the centre. T

  • TSS

    @Side Before Self

    I’m led to believe (fairly reliable source) that Alex Bruce’s fee was £200k outright with an additional sum depending on games played so I’ve gone with what we’ve actually paid so far.

    As for Collins – absolute guess work on my part, but I based it on what his former teams fans seemed to think we’d paid. Could be £100k, but it could just as easily be £500k

  • trueyorxman

    Personally I’d give Adam Clayton the ‘Edge’ in midfield!! (He should be good for ‘One’ on ‘New Years Day’ anyway! I bet he can’t wait for Larry to shout “Hey Adam: ‘Get on Your Boots’!”). Seriously though, Grayson must see something in the kid too have drafted him into the squad. Bradley Johnsons chances now limited methinks

    • timm

      I did all those a month ago when we got him on loan!

  • Colin

    @trueyorxman
    i’m thinking the same as u2

  • Tim Campbell

    kasper schmeichel
    connolly kisnorbro bruce parker
    watt howson snodgrass sam
    nunez
    McCormack

    subs killa gradel paynter somma higgs bessone

    I would like to try nunez in the hole behind the front man, if it does’nt seem to be working we could always revert to two strikers up front

  • Howard Bartle

    Kasper looks a good keeper and we got him for nowt as well, with Higgs as back up we look ok . RB Connolly who looks competant as back up Hughes or Crowe even Bromby, but Connolly will start most games. LB I think this is one of our weak positions without a fit Ben Parker who looked until he was injured 1st match of last season to have made the slot his own. I didn’t rate Sheehan at all he had a sweet left foot and a powerful shot but little else, Hughes did well in this spot last season and may well take over from Bessonne who has not impressed either with his seemingly none existent defensive qualities or going forward, which is what he was supposed to be good at! In the centre of defence on the right Collins on the left Naylor. In the games I have seen this season Collins is far happier on the right hand side, Naylor is the only fit cb who can play on the left hand side now that Kisnorbo is injured, and I think he could be missing all season. I base this on what the club has said, he won’t be rushed back, and this was a bad injury, think back to Kewel he had a similar injury and in my view was never the same as he was before the injury. So I think Naylor will play most weeks because he will play on the left, Bromby, Collins,Bruce and Michalik (now out on loan) all prefer the right the only CB I can think of in the fairly recent past who was left footed was Kilgallon. Centre mid Howson and Kilkenny, they pick themselves I can’t pick Bradley Johnson,mainly because I don’t rate him at all, I think I know why he gets in the side, he gives us an out let from defence with high ball, yes he can climb, it’s remenisent of what wilko did with Gary Speed years ago, but Bradley sadly is no Gary Speed. Too often his touch lets him down and far too often he chooses the wrong option.Sam has made one wing spot his own Snoddy when he is fit will make the other one his own. in backup is Gradel when not suspended and when he realises he has team mates that need to be passed to. Upfront Becchio will start until Paynter is fit and then it could get interesting, alongside Becchio, it will probably be McCormack, with Somma used as sub along with Nunez and possibly Watt who is still only a boy and he will have to be used properly, my twopennarth for what it is worth

  • trueyorxman

    @howard
    Can you go into a bit more detail next time mate please

  • Mark R

    Nice one Howard.

    My team would be a radical 3-2-5 total attacking formation. Let’s play to our obvious strengths and outscore the opposition.

    Gradel – a speedy rightback
    Paddy – our only proper defender
    Killa – defence and there to pass the ball out.

    Midfield : Snodgrass & Nunez

    Attack : Everyone else.

    Kasper
    Gradel Kisonorbo Kilkenny
    Snodgrass Nunez
    Watt McCormack Paynter Somma Becchio Sam

    Sweet.

    MOT

  • Bill Fox

    @trueyorkxman – classic!

    Word of caution to many-injured players represent real hope. Parker has played mainly League 2 and some League 1………

    How do you get this blue ‘@’ thing for replies……!!!???

    captaincrash aka luddite.

    • TheReaper08

      @captaincrash You didn’t spell trueyorxman correctly, no K.

      • TSS

        @captaincrash

        It only works for members as it provides a link to the mentioned users profile. As @TheReaper08 points out though, spelling it correctly also helps.

        • Bill Fox

          fair point re the K

  • GRAYSONSBARMYARMY

    my full starting 11 when fit would be:

    Schmeichel

    Connolly Bruce Kisnorbo Parker

    Clayton

    Howson Gradel

    Snodgrass Becchio McCormack

    Subs: Higgs,Sam,Watt,Somma,Collins

    • GRAYSONSBARMYARMY

      and you could revert to a 442 as well:
      Schmeichel

      Connolly Bruce Kisnorbo Parker

      Gradel Clayton Howson Snodgrass

      Becchio McCormack

  • Graham Hugill

    2 things:

    1. Still wondering who the ‘icing on the cake’ signing was supposed to be.
    2. A bit disappointing to hear Simons comments that we have no decent youngsters to work with. Must be quite demotivating for the older of the youth players (a la Will Hatfield)

    • Craig

      It wasn’t quite what Simon said supergray. What he said was “We haven’t got too many players at this club that are sort of in that bracket of 19, 20, 21-year-old’s who we can work with and make better.”

      The differences are subtle but significant.

  • l l l leeds

    LUFC
    LUFC LUFC LUFC LUFC
    LUFC LUFC LUFC LUFC
    LUFC LUFC

  • timm

    It’s interesting to see Naylor not figuring in anyones team. We all said he needed dropping, so Grayson dropped him & he came back at Watford with a goal & a performance which got him in both the Sky team of the week & the Championship team of the week too. Alex Bruce was woefully inadequate in the air v Leicester but many on here prefer him to Naylor. I have no opinion on this but it’s interesting.

  • Max.

    Re: Ryan Jones – he was on the main squad page on the website (even after leaving) … I think he was final year scholar but I think the same applies to e.g. Milne.

    On Naylor, you can compensate (partially) for pace with organisational efficiency and presence, and personally I’d keep him in the first team. When Kisnorbo comes back I’d expect Collins to be dropped. Simon Grayson had the chance to change the captaincy at the start of the season and I assume there’s a reason he hasn’t. As I said, as the GK and the back four get used to one another they’ll become more effective.

    “Icing on the cake” – I still think Simon may go and get Lowry from Villa to cover LB till Xmas. The management issues at Villa may explain why it didn’t happen. He also needs to get a 3rd GK from somewhere. I’d be surprised if another MF came in, given the number we now have.

    And a couple of by the ways – Nunez is only around till January on the contract that was signed, with the possibility of an extension. And on the subject of left back – Capaldi (no I am not recommending we get him) is one of the many players on the PFA website floating without a contract or a club post deadline day.

  • Max.

    And btw I think (my opinion) Simon’s current view of his perfect-team-when-fit is:

    Schmeichel
    Connolly/Naylor/Kisnorbo/Bessone
    Snodgrass/Kilkenny/Howson/Sam
    Strikers rotating from Becchio/McCormack/Paynter based on form/results.

    … with bench being Higgs, Collins, Watt, Gradel, Somma, Johnson and whichever of the three strikers above is being rested.

    Given that assumes 18 players all fit and available, there’s room for Clayton, Bruce, Parker, Nunez and maybe Bromby to break in when they get their chances.

    I’d expect to see Crowe, Grella and maybe White out on loan (and in the first two cases, maybe to leave in the next window).

  • Arthur Graham

    Sanchez Watt starts every time for me surely ?

    Grayson and most fans know he is class ..cant believe you put him behind some of those players ?? bizarre

    I think other than that oddity your team is pretty spot on
    but Parker may nudge a full back out

  • Max.

    It’s a bit like the Somma discussion – personally I’d have Somma on every game right now. I’d probably have Watt ahead of Becchio, and by the way I also have no idea how Paynter and McCormack are going to turn out (last season I thought McSheffrey would do well, so what do I know?).

    Watt however is really up for one of the wing slots or the secondary forward slot. Sam and Snodgrass score more goals, and crucially are on permanent contracts. Watt may have edged in front of Gradel, who also scores goals but is far more inconsistent. Not sure he’s ahead of the other two. I think he’s maybe ahead of Somma in the thinking for the starting forward slots.

    For me, it’s also important that we develop our own players. We could be in the Championship for at least a couple of seasons. I think Watt will develop at Arsenal. I’m sure that enters Simon’s thinking as well, but he probably attaches less importance to it (managers at Leeds typically haven’t been rewarded for prioritising the long term over the short term).

  • Mark R

    @Arthur Graham : Agree about Watt – he, Sam & Kasper would be first on my team sheet.

    These lads were once youngsters in the division we are in now, looking for promotion – and after a 2 or so seasons they did pretty well in the top tier- with the odd signing – Clarke from Leicester, Jones from Sheff U, Giles from Manu.

    Sprake
    Reaney Charlton Hunter Cooper
    Lorimer Giles Bremner Gray
    Jones Clarke

    MOT

  • Chrisb

    Becchio firing on all cylinders?????????? We must be watching different games – how many chances has he missed, must be averaging 2-3 a game at the moment. Not good enough just to work hard, Hughes gives 100% but it doesn’t make him good (Becchio too slow and always looking for free kicks) and we a need strong forward who can finish in the middle of all the quick, flair players we now have.- enter BillyP

  • JamesC

    I think Grayson’s signings have been very well thought through and somewhat inspiring, considering we’ve been rotting in League 1 for so long. The entire dynamic of the team has now changed and we’ve now got the flair (and pace) to push forward down the channels and get balls into the box rather than relying on direct play.

    Like many others on this forum, the defence concerns me a little – Bessone isn’t great and looks shaky at best (but then again, can someone list a half decent Leeds LB since Tony Dorigo?), but does get forward well. CB’s; Kisnorbo is desperately needed back, he reads the game and has the technical ability to hold the defence, and i think Bruce’s addition might add some much needed pace, but Collins and Naylor just dont do it for me – they’ve both had some OK performances this season, but when the team gets so many men forward (especially from midfield) there is a need for a strong and aligned defence that can hold up attacking play, and i dont think we’ve got that at the moment.

    What is interesting is that many of the people on this forum have put their teams in a 442 formation, which i guess is with the thinking that we need to have 2 of our 3/4 better strikers on the field – personally i’d go with a 451, utilising our pacey and creative wingers to go forward and adopting the Dutch/Spanish style of attacking play. This is my team based on existing performances (aside from Bruce, but there arent many other options in defence!):

    Schmeichel

    Connolly Bruce Kisnorbo Bessone (begrudgingly!)

    Kilkenny Howson Johnson

    Snodgrass/Gradel Watt/Sam

    Becchio/Somma

    Grayson has signed so many attacking options that it’s hard to pick starting MF/FWD positions – we’re certainly not short of quality, especially down each flank. It’d going to be interesting to see how SG picks the team when all the players are fit.

    Just my opinion – i think Mid-table is realistic this season and i’d be happy with that. Give it two seasons and i think we’ll be pushing to get back into the Premiership – then Papa Smurf can flog us to some Sheikh!

  • Matt BB

    I think the competition will do our striking department a world of good, it had been picking itself for too long in league one, and only when larry opted to drop beckford to the bench and change the way we played did we jump start.

    I think we will see a more flexible style of play from leeds as we have recently, 4-3-3 works but not against all teams. I think we have players in Watt, Snodgrass, Howson and so on to be able to move easily from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1 and so on easily.

    For me the defence is a worry, and I was disappointed to read that we may be ending interest in Davenport who for me would be an excellent signing. Naylor and Collins just dont give much confidence.

  • Max.

    @Mark R – your “total attack” team has 12 players in it (the classic 3-2-6 formation).

    I think there’s a reason why nobody (apart from, at brief intervals, Kevin Keegan) plays the old W formation (2-3-5) any more though.

    • Mark R

      Max..you’re right ..a schoolboy error. I’ve since re-evaluated my preferred formation and … with Kasper and Kisornobo present – I would love it ..love it if we played a 1-1-9 formation !
      Let Ferguson choke on that !

      MOT

      • Craig

        Choke with laughter I think!

        • Mark R

          On a more sober note what all this speculation indicates is that with the current squad SG has built – we have options – which can only be good.

          Heady days , icing on the cake or not.

          MOT

  • Mark R

    @James C & Mattb

    Good posts – as as many of the others come to that.

    Agree with James that the dynamic of the squad has chnaged and our atatcking options are very good. Also agree with MattB that our squad options give us formation options and we will be more adaptable depending on the opposition.

    I think the impact of Watt & Sam has been beyond expectatiions over the games so far. They clearly scare defences and create opportunities and Sam in particular is a cool finisher. Watt just needs a bit more composure in scoring chances – and it’ll come.
    For me these ‘wingers / speedy attackers’ need to be in the team.Gradel is in the same vein.

    Snodgrass’ impact last season vs. Spurs away playing just behind Beckford – with a license to roam and create havoc – is his ideal position.

    Midfield – so far Kilkenny for me has been the most consistent, Hoswon inconsistent, Bradley sadley has been all running and little composure.
    There may be a case for looking at Bradley as a defensive midfielder – he appears more effective at left back than midfield – and this role may suit.

    Defence – The Defence of Collins & Naylor is ok when playing against high balls and unimaginative attackers – but as well documented on this post – has no pace. So is forced to play a deep back line to compensate.

    Attack – interchangeable options.
    Becchio + McCormack
    Somma + McCormack
    Paynter + McCormack

    It’s really positive after 4 matches.

    MOT

  • Max

    re that Revie team, I don’t think Jones, Clarke or Gray played for Leeds in D2, and neither Lorimer nor Cooper were regulars until after promotion. Giles did play regularly in the promotion side.

    If you compare now, though, the youth setup was a lot stronger back then. We’ve had several years of Gwyn Williams achieving nothing and, since relegation from the Premiership, many of the better prospects being sold off for various reasons. Our youth squad is (got this from a forum somewhere – the site isn’t up to date):

    First Year Scholars: (Contracts Running Until 2012)
    

Dean Bartle – CM – Born: Leeds – 22/March/1994
    
Sam Byram – RB – Born: York – 16/Sep/1993
    Charlie Clamp – CM – Born: York – 23/May/1994
    
Elliot Kebbie – ST – Born: Halifax – 11/Sep/1994 (Contract Until 2013)

    Ross Killock – DC – Born: Huddersfield – 12/July/1994
    Simon Lenighan – CF – Born: Harrogate – 13/May/1994
    
Dominic Poleon – ST – Born: Ilford – 18/Sep/1993
    Conor Qualter – DC – Born: York – 31/Mar/1994
    
Charlie Taylor – LB – Born: York – 18/Sep/1993

    Second Year Scholars: (Contracts Running Until 2011)

Nathan Turner – RB – Born: Leeds – 03/Sep/1992
    
Lewis Turner – RW – Born: Leeds – 03/Sep/1992
    James Baxendale – RW/ST – Born: Sheffield – 16/Sep/1992
    Jonny Birbeck – ST – Born: Helmsley – 07/Oct/1992
    James Booker – CB – Born: Leeds – 11/Sep/1992
    Alex Cairns – GK – Born: Doncaster – 04/Jan/1993
    Joe McCann – CM/LM – Born: Leeds – 11/Oct/1992
    
Sanchez Payne – CM/AM – Born: Leeds – 31/Jan/1993 –

    

Young Pro’s:
    

Tom Elliott – 2011
    
Tom Lees – 2012
    
Liam Darville – 2011

    Aidan White – 2012

    Will Hatfield – 2011

    Compare with the Arsenal youth list on this page (this is the submission page for the 25 man squads): http://www.premierleague.com/page/Headlines/0,,12306~2142220,00.html

  • Mark R

    @Max

    Now that’s a challenge I like. Let’s see , I said the following team grew in stature along with 3 signings in the top tier of Clarke, Giles & Jones.

    Sprake
    Reaney Charlton Hunter Cooper
    Lorimer Giles Bremner Gray
    Giles Jones Clarke.

    See this great site : http://www.wafll.com/leeds-statistics/leeds-1963-64.html

    63-64 Promition team included : Sprake, Reaney, Charlton, Hunter & Bermner.

    That leaves Cooper 64-65, Lorimer 65-66 & Gray 66-67.

    Well done Max. I stand corrected.

    MOT

  • Mark R

    Oh , just seen Giles as a scorer in the promtion 63-64 team as well.

    Max , you are on fire bud.

    MOT