Experience is key, but Grayson targets youngsters TSS March 1, 2011 Leeds United 31 Comments Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan and Birmingham City’s Jordan Mutch are the two names being linked with Leeds United today as Simon Grayson continues his search for midfield reinforcements. Both these players are highly talented youngsters with a great career ahead of them. Both come with rave reviews and have both featured at youth level for England. However, at 21 and 19 years of age, neither are the experienced box-to-box midfielder Leeds have been crying out for. They both seem to fit a similar mould as Sanchez Watt. Technically gifted, developing quickly and most definitely ‘one for the future’. But is that something Leeds United really need at this moment in time? Throughout the 2010/11 campaign, Leeds’ defensive troubles have stemmed from a lack of midfield support. The 4-6 horror show at home to Preston stands out as a perfect example of where an experienced midfielder was needed to restore order to a Leeds side that had struck the self-destruct button. We needed someone with a calm head and experience of riding out pressure from the opposition. Someone who can not only win the tackles, but also slow the game down and restore order, allowing Leeds United to regroup and reassert their authority. If we had this hypothetical player against Preston, I have no doubt in my mind that we’d have an extra 3 points on the board at this moment in time. It’s an unglamorous role that the likes of Shaun Derry once filled successfully. He was the kind of player that could suck all life out of a match when Leeds were ahead by keeping the ball in the corners, winning throws and goal-kicks and basically irritating a thirsty opposition. It’s not pretty to watch, but it does stop teams like Preston putting six past you and Barnsley another five. I don’t doubt Simon Grayson is aware that he needs someone like this, the problem I assume is finding someone that fits that mould. Unless you have bucket-loads of money to splash around, you’re not going to find a player like this in January and you have even less chance as an emergency loan in March. All this leaves is youngsters. Most of whom could use an experienced midfielder themselves to play alongside and learn from. The best we can hope for is that Grayson gets lucky and stumbles across the next David Batty.