Champion and MVP - Ramon Nunez

Almost a week until our next fixture and with ‘silly season’ providing a remarkable absence of talking points, we thought we’d do a round-up on things we couldn’t be bothered covering earlier.

Clayton returns to Elland Road

Following the departure of Andy Hughes, Adam Clayton has returned from his loan spell with Peterborough United to give Simon Grayson an extra option in midfield.

After joining Peterborough in November on a month long loan, Clayton impressed former manager Gary Johnson enough to have his loan spell extended,  He went on to make six appearances for The Posh.

40 minutes and counting…

I don’t like these mid-season international competitions at the best of times, partly because the footballing standard is on a par with the MLS, but mainly because it causes massive disruption to the English clubs who pay these players wages.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to ignorantly preach “club before country” because I understand how important these competitions are to players like Killa. However, the timing of them is quite frankly ridiculous. Is it really beyond the realms of possibility to arrange such tournaments to fit the European schedule? After all, most of the key players make their living over here and we’re the ones affected by it.

As it stands, Kilkenny has missed five games for Leeds United so far, just so he could play 40 minutes of football for Australia! Congratulations to Australia for reaching the final, but what benefit has Neil Kilkenny got from playing 40 minutes of football at a lower level than he otherwise would have done?

Nunez named MVP

In other pointless International competition news, Ramon Nunez helped Honduras to win the Centro Americo Cup and was named as the competition’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.

I think that pretty much sums up how pointless these tournaments are – the most valuable, and therefore one would assume, best player currently spends his time as a bench warmer at a second tier English club. Congrats to Ramon all the same.

Somma loving

Simon Grayson admits Davide Somma has reason to feel aggrieved with his lack of first team action in recent months, but insists he’s a victim of circumstance rather than anything more sinister.

The Gaffer points to the change in formation from early season where Somma was deployed to devastating effect in a 4-4-2 formation alongside Luciano Becchio. Since then, Somma has had to make do with the occasional substitute appearance as Leeds United switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Becchio alone up front.

Clearly a big fan of Somma, Grayson said;

“He’s a natural finisher, he covers the ground elegantly and he’s got a nice touch and an eye for goal. He does it every day in training, which is why we took him on in the first place and signed him on a long-term contract.”

  • Colin

    Interesting that Clayton was called back early. He was meant to play for Peterborough on friday, but was called back early by Grayson.

    Is he going to feature at the weekend?

    • Dje

      Not for our weekend!

    • Craig

      @colin

      Probably not – we’re not playing until Tuesday night!

      • Colin

        @djedjedje @craig – well spotted!! You picked up on my deliberate mistake :)

        • Dje

          @colin

          And there was I with visions of you turning up to Elland Road this Saturday thinking ‘Hmm, easy to get a park today!’

  • henry vincent lewis

    i have always had a good feeling about Nunez.
    He is bright and confident but has had little chance to impress – unlike Paynter and McCormack.
    it was really surprising that Simon kept him, and a lot of us were not sure if he was still with the club or whether he had left us by the back door!
    Somma too will surely get a chance to shine!
    What more can he do but come on and score.
    He is another confident lad – which is a good job!!
    I am not sure about Adam Clayton as I have seen so little of him?
    No new signings yet!
    No real ‘leaks’ to get your teeth into either.
    I am not panicking just yet!!
    The chasing pack threaten to swallow us up!!
    Simon knows what he is doing!

  • Dje

    I can appreciate the frustration with the timing of the Asia Cup fro our, northern hemisphere, point of view, but it is the Asian Cup after all, so it does make complete sense not to mess about with summer-time based Australian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese leagues etc. And to be fair this only effects a few – mostly Australian players in the UK / Europe, as unless I’m completely off the ball, there aren’t that many Uzbek national team players in Europe. Even south Korea, who are quite good only have four players based in Europe (essentially Park Ji-Sung a chap at Bolton who I’ve never heard of, and two others at Celtic, who I’m sure are easily dispensable).

    Of course the pressure comes on such players to renounce international careers if they are going to prosper in Europe’s bigger leagues. Money and fame versus national duty: that’s a nasty proposition, but seems to be generally acceptable to most.

    There is alternatively a third option. The UK leagues follow other countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy, and listen to the managers such as O’Neill and Ferguson and adopt the ‘Winter break’. This would allow those playing for micky mouse cups such as the Asia Cup, the Central America Cup and the African Nations Cup to do their international bit and not mess around with our squad selections.

    The only downside as far as I can see is millions of Brits trying to work out what the hell to do on Boxing Day afternoon.

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    Ok I get your your LUFC point TSS but come on …. ‘other POINTLESS International competitions ?

    Thats a bit UK/ Leeds -centric isnt it ? that outlook ? as We all benefit !

    Im sure if you ask Young Mr Nunez – he wouldnt see the competition in his region of the world as pointless – nor would all the citizens from those competing countries – fans and players alike etc – From a Leeds point of view – it has given Nunez huge confidence boost ( 90% of whats counts in man management and for football players )
    and given us a player back returning from a huge helping of success internationally and life experience and success – fitness etc ( Id say same for Killa ) its called having valuable helpings of EXTERNALITY in your staff team in the workplace and its vital for stopping insular parochial perpsectives setting in . Bit insulting also to the countries and players – fans involved

    Man management tip number 2.

    It is about time Larry gave Mr Somma some well deserved praise – as just because he has self belief and is a big boy and does have natural confidence he shouldnt NOT get the praise he deserves from his manager – well done lARRY – LONG OVERDUE – I THINK THE LAD IS a gem to have in our first 13 _ and I would start him week in week out in a 4-4-2 ad then bring on Mac or Watt if hes not doing the bizz ( paynter – mmmm jury is out for me so far – give him more time still )

    ok thats me done

    • Camaac

      TSS UK/Leeds-centric? Der! What do you think TSS are paid to be? Why do we check out every TSS posting?

      • Arthur graham Currie curler

        @Camaacs

        NO Squire ….. dont take my comment out of context …. like a sun reporter ….read it through – or coudnt you mange that ?

        • Arthur graham Currie curler

          mange – pissing myself at myself …. my ferrets had that once squire

      • Arthur graham Currie curler

        dont derrrr me dumbo – Im Leeds born and bred – but I get out !

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    Here is hoping for a midfielder and some quality signed this week also

  • Dje

    Re: Somma

    Just curious whether we haven’t been more successful with our current 4-2-3-1 formation (ie. without Somma in the starting line-up) than with him in our old 4-4-2 formation.

    Wasn’t it 4-4-2 when we got beat by Barnsley 5-2, Preston 6-4 and Cardiff 4-0?

    And when we switched to 4-2-3-1 didn’t we stopped the rot at the back (sure, we still concede, but in manageable doses for our attacking players to still get us something out of the game)? Admittedly over Christmas we’ve dropped points again – but mostly through draws than defeats (of which there’s been only one in the league).

    I just am not convinced that we should change formation JUST to get Somma starting. Although he does make it tempting!

  • Robin Brooksbank

    We stopped using 4-4-2 as our midfield wasn’t good enough to deal with it, so going back to it will have no benefit for us.

    So many people are stuck in the past with this obsession for 4-4-2, yet we have shown this season how great the 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation can be when managed properly. We do not need to rely on strikers to get our goals as the whole team scores, it’s football evolution.

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    - I think Somma became a victim of that bad run – and the change in formation – Id lay the blame for that bad run on certain midfielders not tracking back and the defence then

    Somma got dispossed once on the edge of the box and off they went and scored ? Larry took him straight off ….but come ! on 10 other of our players between the opposition and him on that day … very harsh – he became a scapegoat i feel

    I tell you what our sniffer Clarke was a gem – but was he expected to track back and hold it with a s much success and expectation as our players up front in todays game – i dont think so

    Give the lad plenty of field time – so he can learn and improve – id play him and Bechio and still play wingers ….. well done larry for referencing his class and grace on the ball
    he needed to hear that ……..

    • Dje

      @Arthur graham Currie curler

      “id play him and Bechio and still play wingers”

      But that would leave our midfield exposed once more and, as @Robin Brooksbank said above, “our midfield wasn’t good enough to deal with it” when we played with two upfront like we used to. Opting for one lone striker in Becchio has allowed us to pack our midfield fith five rather than four players. Sure, when we attack we can push three from this five forward to help Becchio, but we have far better chance of one of these four getting back to help out if we suddenly lose possession than when we attacked with 4-4-2.

      I’d love to play Somma in a 4-4-2, largely as I think we’d score even more goals than we currently are, but I can’t see it happening unless Becchio gets injured (and even then I think Grayson would opt for Paynter first), or we bring in a better quality midfielder to have more of a presence and intelligence than Johnson & Kilkenny have in the centre of our team when we play 4-4-2.

      • Arthur graham Currie curler

        ”or we bring in a better quality midfielder to have more of a presence and intelligence than Johnson & Kilkenny have in the centre of our team when we play 4-4-2.”

        exactly – storming Bradley and Killer would be benched by me and the NEW man who can HOLD it all togetehr with guts and a cool head and skill would imorove it all – and allow my idea of wingers and two up fromnt – bechio dropping more in the hole and somma no 9

        who knows – we can debate – its good to talk – over a pint this is great stuff – better than work !! :)

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    yes i agree – doesnt have to be 442

    id play

    new holder in midfield ( the swansea lad if we get him or OTHER

    Howson

    and then watt and Lord Snodgrass wide with

    bechio and somma so whats that ….. 4, 1, 3, 2

  • Robin Brooksbank

    I agree Somma more than deserves a chance, he has showed how good he is coming off the bench. Paynter has missed his chance now.

    Arthur – Dropping Gradel eh? Totally agree on the new defensive midfielder, hopefully then we will be able to manage with only the 2 central midfielders.

    • Arthur graham Currie curler

      Arthur – Dropping Gradel eh? well spotted … mmmmm yes good point
      he really has improved hasnt he …. but he cant go flat out like that all season ..or can he /? ..whats he on – i’d like some ? no, we can mix it up between him and Watt based on Form
      and maybe Mr Samm also to give Robert a rest – i like Sam when fit – hes got a lot of quality and energy hasnt he ?

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    but yes, if it aint broke dont change it, i totally agree – we van switch it up and mix it up – and play one half with one up – and mix it to 442 or what ever if the game is won or if the game needs a goal …the squad of 14 over the 90+ minutes is the team id say – not the 11
    MOT ..Im sure Somma is happy with being a supersub – strikers love goals and he sure gets em !

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    allegedly This is from an extremely good source ?

    ”Swansea set to announce they’re cashing in on Darren Pratley rather than him leaving for free at the end of the season.

    Leeds are his preferred choice but the move is being held up by a wage discussion. Likely to be resolved in the near future though. ”

    all speculation – but i rate this player for us in CM

  • TSS

    Pratley keeps getting mentioned to me, but Swansea are denying any offers have been made – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/s/swansea_city/9376587.stm

    It also only seems to be Leeds United fans with their ever-reliable sources that are linking him with us. The papers, and even the rumour sites have yet to throw our name into the hat, preferring to concentrate on alleged Premier League interest.

    Not sure what to make of it?

  • tim campbell

    Just a small point; is that nunez in the photo, it doesn’t look like him?

    • TSS

      @Tim Campbell

      Wasn’t 100% myself, as I’ve never seen him up close. I got it from Google Image Search, and the one above does look like him – albeit a much darker version. He does play in the number 10 shirt too, so maybe he’s just paled in England’s dismally cold weather?

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    speculation speculation and damned speculation – may as well be fantasy

    so in a fantasy world Id prefer a genetic mutation of curie and batty … an amalgam Curries passing range and grace and the tackling skills and laying off of Mr David Batty or how about simply CLONING John Giles –
    cos he had it ALL

    p.s Blackpools midfielder captain showed some of that range on saturday ( did Larry sign and mould him ? )

  • Arthur graham Currie curler
    • Tim Campbell

      lol, very good arthur…lets hope we will will get that same gurn of delight when he starts sticking them in the back of the net for leeds united

  • Robin Brooksbank

    Pratley would be good, but we won’t hear a word until we sign him. I was hoping the rumours of Michael Johnson from man city would come true.

    Is Pratley a defensive midfielder though?

  • Tim Campbell

    On a positive note it looks like there are some really good youngsters in the ranks, dominic poleon and elliot kebbie, as well as the everton lad thompson and clayton that we bought in – very positive and still in youth cup

    • Arthur graham Currie curler

      I agree Tim – lots to be very happy about – a good league position – like the one steve Ovett used to take going into the last lap …. just on the shoulders of those who think they have it in the bag …and yes our youth in the current 14 is good too – and those to come on like the boys you mentioned – I like Sam and Max – somma and Captn John – all young and willing to improve to Prem level

      • ellamforengland

        I like the Cram analogy, I hope you are right. Just hope the shoulder we are curently sitting on, Forest’s is not akin to Coe’s, as you probably know, he had a marvelous last 100 metre finish!! Up to press nobody is averaging the 2 points a game to be near assured of promotion but Forest have taken 19 from last 21. We’re not on the last lap yet though, so – COME ON CRAM

  • ellamforengland

    Sorry Arthur, forgot to open with I think you got Ovets’ tactic mixed up with Crams’ Hope my last post makes better sense now. Silver would do!

  • Tim Campbell

    Don’t worry guys just like Ovett did, we will give them all a little wave as we pass them in the home stretch lol

  • Colin

    If I’ve got it right and we pulled Clayton back from Posh a game before we could do (Posh playing on Friday I think), then why did we do that? {That Friday game would have been his last as part of the loan deal}

    Only one reason, we’ve lost Johnson. Or Johnson is injured.

    If Johnson is going then we’re in trouble.

  • TSS

    @Colin

    I think you’re reading too much into it. We just lost Hughes so even with Killa and Nunez back, we are still lacking midfielders capable of tackling which we will likely need against a scrappy Hull side.

    Larry just being cautious and covering the bases I reckon, or Clayton isn’t fully fit so wouldn’t have featured Friday.

  • Paul Cranswick

    We have a very good group at the moment. We have the best keeper in the division in Schmeichel with adequate short term cover in Higgs and Martin. Connolly has been steady on the right and McCartney has grown well into the left back role. Bromby can cover Connolly and Parker with my own favourite White more than enough on the other flank. Bruce and O’Brien have looked OK but perhaps between them are a little short of inches. We need Paddy back as the big guys Collins and Naylor dont have the legs. Clayton, Thompson and Hatfield are three young players who should get occasional run-outs in midfield where we have Howson and the excellent but not really tried Nunez who would be great if we play with one up. Killa and Johnson’s future needs to be settled. On the wings we have an embarrasment of riches. Up front Becchio does his job and Somma can put it in the onion bag. McCormack and Paynter havent scored yet and Elliott and Grella dont seem to be fancied.
    This leaves us possibly beefing up at right-back, adding someone above 6 feet who can run at centre half, at least one midfielder if we cash-in on either Killa or BJ and a fox in the box in lieu of Grella, Elliott, McCormack and Paynter who to me are surplus to actual requirements. My preferred choices would be Mark Beevors, Stuart Parnaby, Michael Johnson (loan) and Mickail-Smith with Crowe, Collins, Bessone, Paynter, Grella, Johnson moving out. This would give us a better balance and more chance for the young players to get time on the pitch from the bench.

  • Arthur graham Currie curler

    good summary Mr C – and I agree with farming those players mentioned out also – surplus – though maybe billy boots needs a bit more time after no real pre season and that injury – and confidence knocked – once he gets one i think he will be ok as sub to Somma Bechio and Mac ( he was free after all ) Hope Citys Johnson on the way – i suspect he may be and possibly the swansea central lad depending on wage negotiations – looking forward to seeing Nunez play a full 90