It’s been announced today that captain Richard Naylor and goalkeeper Shane Higgs will leave Leeds United when their contracts expire in June.

Shane Higgs had the unenviable role of being an understudy for most of his Leeds career, notching up just 29 appearances in two years. Nevertheless he always remained professional and gave his best when called upon. The 33 year old is now free to find a new club and he goes with our best wishes and thanks for his service to the club.

Richard Naylor was manager Simon Grayson’s first signing at the club and has since made 76 appearances for the Whites.  His arrival rejuvenated the Leeds defence and though his form may have dipped this season, making just 15 appearances, he bowed out in style with some impressive displays when called back into the team. In a season where the downs came as frequently as the ups he was often singled out for criticism but it must be said how much of a loyal servant he has been in his two years at the club. Like Simon Grayson, he was a boyhood Leeds fan and the manager paid tribute to his captain:

“He’s been a great captain for the club, both on and off the field and I can’t speak highly enough of him and what he has done.

“There was no one prouder than Richard last May when we won promotion back to the Championship and he has played a big, big role in the turnaround of this football club.”

Grayson goes on to say how the club isn’t in a position to offer him a new deal and it is only fair to give him the opportunity to find football elsewhere. We’re thankful for his efforts in a role we would all dream about filling and he goes with our best wishes.

In other news, Ramon Nunez has had his contract extended by the club following a successful loan spell at Scunthorpe United. The 25 year old Honduran will now return to Leeds and look to make an impression in the summer. He had made just two substitute appearances for the Whites but looked impressive during his time on loan and on international duty.

  • Dje

    Seems a bit odd Naylor going having just put in two good shows against promotion rivals and finally bringing stability to our defense (God, i never thought I’d be saying those words a few weeks ago!).

    Good move letting Naylor and Higgs go – presuming they are replaced with better!

  • kev

    good luck to them both,it’s funny how naylors last 2 games have been some of the best in a Leeds shirt,can,t see either of them getting any games next season

  • trueyorxman

    If Naylors going, after his recent good performances, why not Alex Bruce aswell who at no point his season played in 4 consecutive games whilst only conceded 2 goals. As Dje said where might we be if Nayls had been fit

    • Colin

      trueyorxman – if ‘Nayls’ had been fit, we’d have finished on less points. Let me think of some of his performances this season?

      Derby – poor. we lost. He was dropped.

      Millwall – puts the ball in his own net.

      Swansea – messed up and allowed Swansea to score.

      The next game, Barnsley put 5 past us (& Nayls). He was dropped.

      Leicester – another Nayls disaster allowing them to take the 3 points. He was dropped.

      In summary, he’s shit.

  • Colin

    Goodbye Naylor. Tim – you put a good spin with your positive words on a player who was mediocre at best and on far too many occasions, a liability.

    He lost us points both last season and this with his poor play.

    He won’t be missed by me.

  • CJ

    People have short memories. Naylor looked 1st class when he first joined us but his performances soon slipped.
    Playing well for 2 games since his return to the side doesn’t mean he’s worth a new deal.

  • The Reaper 08

    It’s the right time to let them both go but let’s appreciate the commitment and effort as we wave them down the road. There is no need for any spite and vitriol when they have served the club well.

    Good luck to them both.

    • Colin

      Reaper, the writing was on the wall for Higgs when Schmeichel was signed, but he did okay when he was put in the team.

      I’m not reeling out spite and vitriol on Naylor, just stating the truth – he wasn’t very good. He’s been paid handsomely for his performances which have brought him over £75,000 in cash each year (at least).

      If you or I had performed like Naylor in our place of work, we’d have been sacked.

      No applause for Naylor from me. And yes, I am being harsh, but I make no apologies.

  • GH

    He looked out his depth in Division 1 at times, so no surprise to see him struggle in the Championship.

    No pace = Up sh*t creek

    One game = one booking

    The pass to Gradel on Saturday was the first one to find a Leeds shirt out of 99 previous attempts.

    He’ll get stuck in, but let’s be honest, Leeds will need better than that to get promoted.

    Interesting that all except for Lichaj and the goalkeeper, defender Grayson’s defensive signings have been very, very poor.

  • Old Billy White

    I wish the best to both players for the future.
    Naylor struggled this season, mainly because of lack of pace, but always gave it his best shot.
    There was a time when Higgs looked a long term fixture, but injury and Kasper have cost him.
    I assume SG has people lined up to replace them. Any ideas?

  • Gryff

    “No pace = Up sh*t creek”

    John Terry never had any pace, and he’s not gaining speed with age. He’s the Chelsea & England captain.

    Naylor was very good for us in L1, but he was poor in the early months this season. That said, he looked much better this Spring and was undoubtedly better than Bromby.

    Hopefully this means we have a better CB in our sights?

    Right idea to release Higgs in my view. He’d had a few injuries and although he was alright cover, I think we could do better.

    • Colin

      Gryff – I think pace is important if you’re not a very good player. When you make a boo-boo (like Naylor did often), pace can get you out of jail and give you another chance to sort the problem out.

      If you’re a great player, you don’t need pace. Terry knows how to defend very very well and doesn’t need pace to help him out.

      As for the defence, I’ll tell you what the problem is – we don’t have a single half decent defender who could remotely do a job at PL level. And that’s what we need if we want to be promoted. A lot of us are raving about Lichaj and rightly so because he looks a class act compared to our players, but this guy couldn’t get a gig in a poor Villa side. That’s how far away our defence is from being remotely decent.

      For me, keep the keeper (Kasper), but replace the whole back 4. They’re not even close to being average.

      • Gryff

        I agree with you on pace in general, Colin. I just don’t think Naylor’s lack of pace in itself was much of a problem given his positioning and decision making seemed noticeably better than most of our defenders. When he lost his confidence that was it, he played like a non-leaguer. But I’ve seen plenty of pacey players get the same problem.

        I think Andy O’B is definitely good enough for the PL, especially given he’s played there (and in UEFA) plenty. Imagine Kisnorbo & O’B if Paddy could get fitness back!

        We’ve got a core I’d be happy with. But I’d definitely agree we’ve got some building to do. Given Grayson put his faith in Naylor and Naylor played well again after recovering from his injury, I’d guess Grayson’s planning a good revamp of the defence?

        • Colin

          I agree, apart from Andy O’Brien. The reason he’s at Leeds is because no-one wanted him in the PL. His best days are behind him and he’s only going one way – downhill.

          I think he’s got one year left in him – and that’s in the Championship.

  • Tyler75

    I don’t think we’ll see a CB replacement for Nayls – with Kisnorbo given a short-term deal and Lees coming back that’s 4 for the 2 slots with AOB and Bromby. Personally I’d like to see Kisnorbo and Lees as a pairing in pre-season. I like Kasper but he doesn’t command his area or defence as a more experienced ‘keeper would – If the rumours about Westwood are true, I’d cash-in and take the 3m or 4m we’d get for Kasper.

    • Graham Hugill

      And Alex Bruce

    • Old Billy White

      I’d also like to see Lees given a chance. He’s played 48 or so games this season, proved he can play week in-week out. No doubt come up against some old pros who’ve given him a tough time. So let’s see what he can do. And if Paddy gets fit that could be a good partnership. Lets get a defence togethher who play every week, and build the understanding that is vital!

  • Foxy 101

    Lees has to be given a shout as no centre half has worked for us this year. good kuck to nails wish him the best. Maybe a coaching role???