Becchio and... erm... what's his name...

From England’s most consistent goalscorer and a South African call-up, to fourth choice in Simon Grayson’s striking department all in the space of half a season, where did it all go wrong for Davide Somma? This has been the question on many Leeds United fans lips since we last saw Somma in action.

Answering fans questions on Twitter, Yorkshire Radio commentator Thom Kirwin said that Davide Somma was fourth choice on merit. That Simon Grayson sees the team train every day and at this moment in time, Paynter, McCormack and of course, Becchio are ahead of him.

There has also been suggestions that Somma’s absence from the team was purely down to the current 4-5-1 formation Leeds United have been playing. Many see Somma as more suited to a role in a 4-4-2 line-up, but doubters argue that Leeds United have switched to 4-4-2 towards the end of many games and still Somma is ignored behind the likes of Paynter and McCormack.

When Simon Grayson arrived at Elland Road, Blackpool fans praised him for the excellent job he’d done and were bitterly disappointed to see him leave. However, they did warn of fall-outs between the playing staff and manager, saying that he’d been known to leave certain players rotting in the reserves if they didn’t see eye-to-eye. I questioned whether this was merely the fans armchair management skills doing overtime, and I still do. Maybe the fans just rated certain players higher than the manager did? Hard to say really, but a Somma-Grayson fallout has been suggested by fans.

What really seems to have thrown fuel on to this debate is the lack of goals Paynter and McCormack have provided between them. Two strikers currently ahead of Somma in the starting XI, yet still searching for their first goals. Somma meanwhile managed seven in the limited time he’s had on the pitch so far this season and while ever his stats outshine others so convincingly, the conspiracy theories won’t go away.

The question we’re asking is whether you think Davide Somma is fourth choice on merit, or whether there’s a little more to it than Leeds are letting on? It’s not quite in the same league as the Roswell conspiracy (or indeed Leeds United’s ownership) but we like to mix things up a little here at TSS…

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  • Sparkeface

    There has to be something else to it – he was on amazing form, then suddenly stopped playing. Not sure what though, don’t want to believe that its Grayson’s fault

    • stotty

      Paynter has done nothing and McCormack has not done a lot better and both haven’t scored yet. This is typical of Grayson and players go completely off the radar. Somma must be given another chance.
      Think Bromby who was praised for his last outing when he replaced Bruce for most of the game and think the useless Collins who continues to be picked.
      Perhaps I shouldn’t comment as I am not a Grayson person and yes yet another disastrous holiday period of games to boot!

  • Matthew Crumpton

    Plausible conspiracy theory, but why was he offered his new contract during his prolonged time on the bench.

    Surely Grayson wouldn’t have wanted him to sign a new contract if they had had a fall out?

    Having said that, not even on the bench against Cardiff did seem odd. If he doesn’t even get in the squad against Arsenal or Scunthorpe then questions will surely have to be answered by Grayson!

  • Tim Wilsom

    Get more for him with a contract. I think he’ll be gone this Jan.

  • Tim Campbell

    I dont think theres anything sinister about the somma situation; scoring obviously has’nt been our problem this season anyway and its been pleasing to see goals coming from other areas of the field. On a side issue I don’t think newcastle will be offering leon best in any swap deal after last nights performance

  • Derrysdouble

    his scoring record is very flattering as he got 2 late on against Millwall and then was it 2 against Preston, but he also gave away a goal against Cardiff and can’t hold onto the ball like the others.

    He doesn’t look the same player in the cold as he did late summer, for me he is fourth choice in terms of ability and aptitude

  • Matt BB

    I think Somma is being omitted as his all round game is not quite there. A striker can score goals for fun, but quite frankly if they cant hold the ball up pass to other players and give the ball away as much as he does then we will end up with the likes of Billy Bunter and Ross McCormack doing an honest if unspectacular job up front..

    Personally I think the only for that to improve though is to use him as a sub, he is fast, can nick a goal and if those around him can give him that support he will get better in the other areas.

    Has he fallen out with Grayson? Well who knows I am sure we will hear some cr@p coming out about that soon, but I think that Grayson has a particular way of playing football and Somma doesnt fit in.

  • les irwin

    if you read my previous post on here regarding somma and grella it gives me no satisfaction to say I WAS RIGHT when i said both of those had no future at lufc grella will be gone by end of this transfer window ,somma might see that out but will be gone in due time and was only put on a contract so we got money for him this gives me no satisfaction as i like somma and i feel he is every much as good at the moment as mccormack although according to eddie gray mccormack is the most highly thought of at E R by grayson

  • Mike

    Simon Grayson can do no wrong, most fans are misty eyed where he is concerned and cannot see the truth, another good player going South to prove once again Larry is inept.
    Larry has a job for life as long as Bates is around and that is for one reason, he spends nothing. But we all know that does not get anyone anywhere.
    Paynter will be picked until he scores….

    TSS there were not enough choices in the poll, was that deliberate?
    Can we have another added ” Larry hasn’t a clue and is vindictive”

  • EYLeeds

    Couldn’t concentrate on the point to this article due to the annoying adverts!
    TSS, have you sold out? Don’t mind adverts covering your costs, but please don’t persist with ones with sound :o(

    • TSS

      Is it back again? I thought they’d taken that one off after last time. It’s not coming up at my end and I need a screenshot, so if anyone see’s it please email me with a screenshot.

  • Craig

    Agree with Derrysdouble + Mattbb. I have just trawled through the match reports for the early part of the season and, aside from a few great goals as sub and in the early part of matches, Somma’s appearances tend to be in the matches we ended up losing and he was substituted fairly frequently too.

    I really hope Somma makes it but I think the stats suggest that others have a better all-round game at present.

  • Paddy1992

    It doesn’t matter how many goals a striker scores if his all round game is poor? Give me a break they are paid to score that’s why viduka was better than smith beckford than becchio and somma is better than paynter. McCormack just needs a goal. Some Leeds fans need to realise this viduka and beckford were slaughtered for been lazy yet smith (6 goals a season 10 bookings and 2 sendings) was loved. How can you be lazy when your doing what your been paid to do?! Wake up!

    • Irving08

      Completely agree, Paddy. Fans will always have a soft spot for triers, though; they can identify with them. Whereas innate talent, which is rare, seems to be so unfair; it elicits unpleasant emotions like envy.

  • Mike

    @number1inyorkshire
    please jog my memory on mccormacs scoring record for us, it may help me understand why he is picked while Somma ,who was our highest goal scorer then dropped. Have you ever known a manager do that? Before I mean.

    • les irwin

      i agree mike with what yo say but as i have said if you could read all my posts when grella and somma are mentioned they will be gone .Eddie gray will be in the know at E R and what he said on the wireless after borough game was that mccormack is the most highly thought of ,of all the strikers at thorp arch by all the management staff so his place is asured and to be fair we should i feel play him but does he look a little overweight ????? he in my opinion needs a goal to be fair larry signed him ,somma i mean for 3 years so it cant be anything other than what he sees in training what next becchio being left out

  • Brac73

    I honestly don’t believe Somma is worth a place in the starting X1, he can’t hold the ball up, his first touch is shocking and he goes missing too often in games, totally agree with Derrysdouble comment above.

  • Mike

    Spot on paddy

  • TriggerLUFC

    Rubbish!! Fair play to Somma, at the start of the season he was brimming with confidence and bagged a few (important) goals. But personally his work rate was extremely poor and this is why I think he is now down the pecking order. Now I am not saying he should track all the way back, but at least close defenders down and make it difficult for them, remember defence starts at the top!

  • Gryff

    I’m not the first to mentioned Bromby. Why would you give him such a long contract and then play the likes of Collins (Collins!) and Bruce (who’s been responsible for numerous blunders already this season) ahead of him? There certainly weren’t any proper fitness concerns because he’d played numerous closed-doors matches and reserve matches.

    I think Somma, Bromby & Andy Robinson have all been rather hard-done-by. All three of them have been dropped whilst offering something to the team. But it’s not that they’ve been dropped, it’s that they’ve been dropped and then never played no matter how well they’ve performed in the reserves or on one of the occasions when the likes of brainless BJ or pitiful Paynter couldn’t fill the gap.

  • Clarkeonenil

    Firstly “Englands most consistant scorer” is pure hyper-bole. Secondly did you not consider its both, he isn’t as good as you and some would make out (but as a back-up striker he will do for now) and Grayson has tried to improve his work-rate/holding up game and just got frustratred with him? The proof will be whether he goes out on loan, if he does that is a sign he is 4th choice!

  • Max.

    I think Grayson blamed him for giving the ball away at a crucial moment in (I think) the last Cardiff game. There’s certainly feedback that he’s not considered “the finished article”, much like Grella, but in both cases there’s enough there to persist.

    Grayson also seems to give new players a fair crack of the whip – fairer than I’d give them. McCormack looks decent to me, Paynter less so. I don’t think it would take much for Somma to overtake Paynter. Medium term, I think Grayson would much prefer to play 4-4-2 but can’t consistently do so until strengthening his midfield.

    I think the Paynter experiment will continue a short while longer but unless he gets goals he will be consigned to the nether reaches of purgatory along with Bessone and Crowe.

  • Horsforth White

    I think that Simon is just in love with 4-2-3-1 & that Somma does not fit in, he’s suited to 4-4-2. Before he was dropped he played up front on his own & was no good, he also played part of a game out wide & did nothing there either so I can’t see him displacing either Becchio up front or Max/Snods out wide, nor can I see Simon changing shape for him. As for playing him as a link man instead of McC…. No.

  • Let’s not forget that our change in fortunes came when we went one up top. To do that we needed a hold up player, which Somma is not. We have gone back to 4-4-2 in last 4 games, none of which have seen a win. Grayson is known to think a lot of Mccormack, and I’m sure we would all be moaning about him being a waste of money if he wasn’t given a go.
    If we persist with 4-4-2 then it will be Becchio or Paynter with Mccormack or Somma
    If we go back to the succesful 4-5-1 (which allows Howson to do his stuff, and not be the peripheral figure he is in a 4-4-2) then Somma would be behind Becchio & Paynter.
    Let’s not get too carried away with a player with a years experience in English football, just as we should not be too hard on Paynter who has had two games since joining.

  • Mike

    @Clarkeonenil
    Rubbish! I dont remember Beckford doing much else but scoring, is that not the job of a striker? He is not Viduka thats true but how many other strikers are?

  • EYLeeds

    I think McCormack was a panic buy due to our lack of strikers at the start of the season because of injuries and suspensions. He is highly regarded though and needs to be given time.
    Really can’t decide about Somma. Looks like a world beater at times and very ordinary at others.
    Having said that it is perplexing how he has dropped down the pecking order without ever playing – it does make you wonder why.
    Less convinced about Paynter. 2 good seasons with Swindon but his goal scoring record is less than average at his previous clubs.
    Thank god we have Mr Reliable Becchio!

  • AcresLeeds

    The fact that Somma is not even on the bench is indefensible in my opinion.Strikers are employed to score goals and in his limited minutes on the pitch at the beginning of the season he was prolific.

    McCormack look’s nothing special to me and of course, hasn’t scored at all yet for the first team and the only thing of note from him was the ‘defensive’ clearance at the wrong end of the pitch against M’boro in the dying seconds which cost us 2 points.

    Jury still out on Paynter (podge) because in fiarness to him he hasn’t had much game time but,if Somma cannot even make the squad let alone the bench and is otherwise fit and able to play then, something must be going on.

    We’ve been here before with Grayson and I just hope he is not cutting off his nose to spite his own face.

  • Jim Barnett

    Don’t write off McCormack or Paynter so quickly. Given, they haven’t scored yet, and therefore the non-Somma argument is well justified. Although it must be pointed out that after Somma was dropped – and lets face it, it was for that criminal lack of ball retention against Cardiff at home – Grayson’s gone 4-5-1; Becchio’s gone goal-crazy; McCormack and Paynter have scored a few in reserve games/friendlies behind closed doors; and Somma went off with South Africa for a bit (therefore losing his place in the pecking order). I would suggest that circumstances have conspired against him…just like they will work for him if and when the form of the above named dips.

    @mikelufc….since Somma hasn’t been involved, we’ve gone from 16th to 5th. I’m not saying this has anything to do with his non-inclusion, but the anti-Grayson sentiments are a bit grating considering the upturn in our fortunes.

  • Jim Barnett

    …this is not to say i’m blinkered with affection for Grayson – his team selection over the past four games has left me bewildered, especially with the perceived strength in depth. The decisions not to play Kilkenny against Middlesboro, Watt and Sam from the start against Cardiff and his continued faith in Collins over Bruce are questionable to say the least….but then again, what do I know?!

  • Mike

    @jimbobo802
    I am aware of our upward movement, but it was not aided by mccormack or Paynter and it was certainly helped by the failings of those above us rather than a winning streak by us.
    I am also aware that those below and above are coming good and we are sliding again.
    Much has been made of our wonderful unbeaten run, well, a team could embark on a season long unbeaten run and end up with 46 points, thats well worth a party no? could even get you relegated.

  • Mike

    Sorry Jim Bob had to look at the source to find out you are not jimbobo802 but jimbob0802
    thats why it didn’t turn into a hyperlink :-)

  • Paul South Wales

    Hate this backing music advert shite :-(

    • Colin

      ditto. okay with adverts and wouldn’t mind but i don’t think there’s a way to turn off the sound. Anyone know a way to turn off the sound?

      Does firefox still block adverts? Not sure that it does anymore :(

  • Ron

    I am surprised by his complete absence of late, but we have 4 strikers vying for one starting spot most of the time, so it’s a problem I’d sooner have than not. As for the rearguard……….If Leeds were a woman, we’d have a great face & tits, with a huge and sorry ass. Our defence is what we should be debating. Come home Woody.

    Totally agree with Paddy & Irving.

  • Matthew Crumpton

    @mikelufc…

    ‘Larry has a job for life as long as Bates is around and that is for one reason, he spends nothing. But we all know that does not get anyone anywhere.’

    Apart from promotion and 5th in the Championship?

  • Adelaide Leeds

    As somebody else already pointed out, there is a lot more to being a striker than scoring goals, Somma’s fantastic at scoring goals but did seem to give the ball away a lot. It’s also quite clear that Grayson want’s McCormack and Billy to get their first goals, probably believing that when they do the flood gates will open, just like they did with Julian Joachim.

    I’d certainly have him on the bench if I wasn’t going to start him as you could probably count on him when we’re in desperate need for a goal.

    To be fair Grayson does see him every day in training etc. where strikers bang goals in for fun along side a scoring Paynter and McCormack on the training field Somma’s weaknesses (such as losing the ball) are exposed. I take hope though from the fact he’s been awarded a new contract, there was a time when Beckford couldn’t get in the Leeds team so hope’s not yet lost.

  • Tim Wilsom

    Maybe he’ll get a shot on Saturday when we play our second team

  • lar mac

    or….our simon grayson has absolutely no idea what hes at,look at some of the defenders hes has signed up and there not playing,then he continues to use collins.why did he sign nunez,a white out on loan,b johnson who runs around kicking lumps out of people(stick him in as a center-back),mccormack playing when it should be our mentioned friend above….somma,mr watt…should he be playing all the time,we trying to buy another forward..do we really need another forward,then some of the players he signed in …..there awlays injured,………but he signed up somma on a contract then he put him on ice.simon grayson job is to keep us in the championship and hes doing very well…but questions have to be asked as asked above…i have no earthly idea why our man somma,who scores a bunch and is 3rd or 4th choice striker…..im just praying that collins is not playing on saturday…….happy new year and i hope its the same for the leeds..

  • Tim Campbell

    At least we know once and for all where larry is on the whole smith situation – its all hypothetical – for the time being!

  • Yenoah

    I think Grayson wants to play him, but we seem to struggle playing two stikers. Somma doesn’t play the lone striker role as well as Becchio or Paynter would. although I would play him ahead of Mccormack……perhaps he will featgure against Arsenal?????

  • Gryff

    @mikelufc
    compared to Ridsdale/O’Leary’s spending binge that ended so well? Or the Ridsdale-Cardiff binge that almost bankrupted them? Or the Hull spending binge designed to force them back into the Prem? Or the Blackwell-Blades binge?

    Oh wait… Maybe spending your way to success isn’t always the answer?

  • John Salkeld

    I’d like to know what Paynter and McCormack have done, on the pitch where it counts, to displace Somma. Some of Grayson’s team-tinkering I just don’t get.

  • Mark Billings

    Apparently Grella is part of SG’s long term plans but will be going out on loan. I can see the same being true for Somma (apart from the going out on loan).

    However that doesn’t mean he should sit on the bench when he’s playing better than Paynter and McCormack.