Grella celebrates brace against Kettering

Leeds United’s US “soccer” player, Mike Grella has told American website Yanks Abroad about his growing frustrations at the lack of first team football he’s getting at Elland Road;

“Leeds is a great club with great fans but I need to play and if it is with Leeds then fine, but getting one game a month just isn’t enough and is not helping me in my development as a soccer player.

“I’m not going to sit around this year. That’s unacceptable by my standards if I’m going to get better.”

Determined words from the American forward and ones that I’m sure most Leeds United fans will be sympathetic towards.

Talking of our promotion last season, Grella admits the final few games were “stressful and high-pressure” going on to talk of the bittersweet feelings he felt after not taking part;

“The Leeds fan base is very demanding so there was a lot of pressure going down in those last games. It was great to be a part of it and of course I really wanted to see the club go up especially for the fans, but at the same time it was bittersweet since I didn’t play that much.”

Seeing players complain about match-time in the press is one of my biggest pet-hates. Whilst I fully sympathise with Mike and feel he should have been loaned out last season, I think this is an internal matter and he should have taken it up with the Gaffer.

That said, at 23 Mike has good reason to be complaining. If Leeds United aren’t going to utilise what is clearly a talented individual capable of contributing towards the campaign, then he should be released or allowed to move out on loan. You don’t get long to make a name for yourself in football and Grella is in danger of slipping off the radar.

41 Responses

  1. Rob

    I personally think leeds would benefit massively from grella going out on loan!!
    just not to one of our rivals this year

  2. henry vincent lewis

    I suspect with the influx of players it is probably in Simon’s mind already, to send him out so he can get some games.
    It can only benefit us and him, and we will see whether he is good enough to return to the first team squad.

  3. Matt BB

    I agree, when you have a disagreement with your boss you do it in private. I cant imagine this will do well for Grella. He should go out on loan, but at the same time he needs to be grateful that Grayson saw enough in him not send him out on loan, do some players just turn up and get picked? no? Perhaps he needed to do more last season when he got his opportunities.

  4. steve underwood

    not great when players start talking to the press.not sure if he is really good enough though not strong enough to be the lone striker when he has had a chance to play not done it for me any news on on the 3 spurs players we are linked seem to have written us of

    • Craig

      Which three Spurs players are these? I’m in Peru at present so haven’t read the papers. If its another BetFair rumour don’t waste your time!

  5. Dje

    Surely the first three/four games of this season are the best opportunity a striker waiting in the wings could possibly hope for. Injuries, suspensions and a lack of transfer activity give him a great opportunity now; time to show not tell!

  6. sveifors

    Grella is a bit lightweight and he could benefit a time out on loan. I think he has got chances but have not taken them.

  7. James Siddall

    Yeah he’s clearly a good player, however the fact that we currently don’t have that many strikers is an issue, and means at the moment it’s unlikely he will be loaned out in the near future.
    Plus when he’s been given the chance it just seems to have not gone for him, like when he replaced Becchio early on against Norwich. That said a Grella and Beckford partnership was always unlikely to work as both need a big ball-winning striker (such as Becchio) to feed off.

  8. steve underwood

    looking at the squad now when we get snoddy and paynter back i think we look strong this new formation seems to get the best out of the players instead of relying on beckford the whole team look more balanced

  9. Mike

    Seems to me he has been down the route of talking to Larry to no avail, smacks of desperation to me.
    Cant for the life of me understand why he cant go out on loan on 24 hour recall.
    Must be a bunch of clubs who would welcome him.

  10. Mike

    I think the reason lies in this statement from him

    “I really don’t get any kind of feedback from Simon,” Grella said of the former Leicester City and Blackpool player.

    • Mark R

      Agree with you Mike. Grella is frustrated and is desperate. As you say send him out on loan with a 24 hour recall.

      He’s got real potential but if you don;t get a run in the side and build up confidence then it’s difficult when new players come in. He needs to tread the path Somma took.

      Come on Grella – show us something and make yourself indespensible.


  11. Roger the Dodger

    At the end of the day, i cant see anything wrong with him going out on loan, if we have squad players covering his position. Unfortunately for mike he hasnt taken his opportunities when they have come along.

    Hes very skillful but whenever ive seen him play in the first team his style is the opposite of how he plays in the reserves when he is constantly running at the defence and getting shots off. in the first team he always seems to run out wide and pass when he has opportunities to shoot. It could be a confidence thing or that hes playing safe so as not to make mistakes but either way i think he has to get a few games under his belt and put in 100%.

  12. Side Before Self

    Grella is a usefull player to have. I see him as an impact player much like gradel was last season. Unfortunately for mike when gradel was getting 30 or 45 mins to change the game he was getting 2 or 5 mins. His record is 5 goals in 32 games according to wiki but and sure if you added the minutes he actually played it would be more like 5 goals in 12 games. He’s not the kinda player to get you 20 odd goals a season because he’s lightweight but he’s got quick feet, skill, pace and a decent short game, so why not try him as an attacking midfielder?

  13. Ryan H

    I like Grella but i think is attitude is all wrong, the limited time that he has had on the pitch he’s never fully realised his potential and earned a right to be consistently in the starting XI, that said a spell on loan could do him the world of good and he could come back a new player as Becks did when we sent him out loan.

  14. Zidhenry8

    I think Grella has every right to complain. He sat quietly all year while crap loanees were being brought in and they have taken his place every time. I think he would have been better than Vokes, Mcsheffrey and Dickov. Whenever he came on he always looked a threath. Why arent fringe players played in the cups? That gives the 1st team a rest and also good match practice for the lesser used players. Last year we had also the Johnstone Paint Trophy but we still kept playing with the 1st eleven, then they were running empty by March or earlier. MOT

    • Craig

      Sure Grella ‘always looked a threat’ but somehow rarely threatened. I have said for ages that Grella should be employed as an attacking midfielder – but does he want to play there? His on-TV through ball for Beckford (can’t recall which game) was sublime and I’m surprised that alone didn’t earn him an attacking midfielder slot against weaker teams last season.

      • TSS


        I know what you mean mate, he just doesn’t look like a striker does he?

        I can well imagine how he ended up playing that position though. Quality American “soccer” stars don’t come along too often, so someone with his capabilities will have been spotted and sent straight to the front line to put the ball in the net. Against the teams over there, he’s probably our equivalent to Wayne Rooney.

      • Dje

        To be fair I don’t think he is a striker in the mould of Beckford (and I’d argue Somma) – pacy and playing off the shoulder of the defense.

        Nor is he in the mould of Becchio and Paynter – strong, combative, good in the air.

        But this doesn’t mean he isn’t a striker, per se. He’s got a good first touch and the ability to get a free position in the box – so I can see him making a reasonably good goal-poacher – alla Linekar.

        The problem is that last season we definitely didn’t have room on the pitch for that kind of striker owing to the formation we played. I’m not convinced we will play to that strength either this season – but 4-5-1/4-3-3 give him, and Grayson, far more room to play to these strengths.

  15. Tim the White

    I had high hopes for him but his options when on the ball are not always the right ones. For me he is a bit lightweight and doesn’t make his presence felt on the field. I think there is a footballer in there somewhere but probably not at Leeds. I truly hope I am wrong.

  16. Tim Campbell

    perfect scenario loan grella to a league one club up to christmas, and bring him back when hopefully he has banged in a few goals

  17. kev cressey

    I don’t get this Grella is a good player,at best he’s a decent league one player,if Grayson realy rated him he would be playing alot more,think he is too lightweight his shooting is poor and I’ve never seen him head a ball so get rid !!

  18. les irwin

    to be fair to grella he is right iv’e said for a while he would benefit a loan or more likely a move he is not a prem player and maybe not a champs player league 1 or 2 willd o for him i think there is a team down the road who would love him if we helped with his wage bradford city would be perfect for him .
    it makes me wonder why if we are struggleing to get players in because of sheehan etc who are free to leave then lets try and get some out who maybe have a future but would benefit a loan ,if opinions count i feel the writings on the wall for grella and somma to a degree probably january for somma if he doesn’t make a mark he will be gone i dont’t think grella will get a new deal either .in my opinion kandol was better than both

  19. Shaun malone

    Kandal serious Tht guy poo and in formation where playing I cant really see paynter gettin in the first 11 becchio million times better and oh the last pre season game wolves snodgrass would struggle coz sam and gradel woz shithot the whole team looked balanced and solid and played billiant dont get me wrong I think snodgrass is first 11 but larry got good problems on grella he good player just makes wrong choice whn comes to it loan would do him good but wiv us seem to be playing 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 whn attacking not really seem suit his game

  20. Anthony Lewis

    I really like Mike Grella and i think he could be good for us if he played more regularly. I would start with him up front alongside Becchio against Derby and I think he deserves a run in the side while paynter is sidelined and while we look to bring another striker in as it looks like we will. I don’t want to see him go out on loan, our squad is thin as it is and if another striker comes in he may feel he needs to leave for good to play football regularly which will be a shame

  21. henry vincent lewis

    Hi Craig.
    The Spurs players are Steve Caulker – Centre half.
    Jake Livermore – midfield.
    dean Parrett – midfield.
    It was in the Daily Mail!!!

    • Craig

      Thanks for the clarification Henry. These don’t particularly excite and are hardly in positions we need improving. Thankfully, since its the Mail, there is probably nothing to worry about!

  22. White to the core

    What ive seen of him in the first team so far, i have to agree with others that a midfield role would suit him better. Maybe a central attacking ,flair midfield type. Maybe he hasnt had the chance to play his natural game in his limited time on the field for first team. Worrying that he’s spoken out to the press though, either trying to force Larrys hand with Gradel, Somma suspended and Paynter (and decorator) injured or got his mind on a move elsewhere. Cant see him getting a loan move til others are back though.

    • Craig

      My guess is that Grella spoke to the US ex-pat press, not expecting it it go much further.

  23. Dje


    Lol I thought that too. I bet Grella’s not putting TSS on his Christmas card list this year now.

  24. Colin

    I’m sympathetic to Grella on this one. I think @mikelufc got it spot on – SG just isn’t giving him a chance. SG has always had his favourites – he has previous on playing players who are completely out of form (Bradley Johnson, Naylor) yet dropping others at the drop of a hat (Beckford, Howson). I’m not particularly happy at the way he’s treated some of our players – surely he could have done more for Robinson, Kandol, Sheehan, etc?

    I think Grella’s lost his patience – we saw the spat with Kilkenny recently. I think Grella sees that in attack, SG sees Becchio, Paynter, Somma, Gradel, Johnson ahead of him and if Watt’s now joined that group, then maybe that’s the final straw.

    Grella is not the type of player just to sit on his backside and take his wage – he wants to go out and play and that’s admirable.

    Grella has never been given a good long run in the team. That’s what he needs. Becchio’s got 37 goals in 103 appearances for Leeds – he got these through being in the team consistently – not a stop start in then out of the team setup.

    And just to point out – Grella has only said positive things about Leeds in that article. He doesn’t want to leave Leeds – he stressed he just wants to go on loan. If Grella is right that SG doesn’t talk to him that much, then that’s pretty piss poor management from SG IMHO.

    SG said “Maybe the Bury result was the kick up the backside the players needed.”
    Maybe these comments from Grella are the kick up the backside that the SG and his staff need also?

  25. Colin

    SG has a serious dilemma now – Grella has forced his hand somewhat.

    If he doesn’t play Grella fairly regularly, then I think most fans would say, he’s got to go out on loan. And the pressure would be on SG.

    If he goes on loan, then he would probably go to a local club where he can easily commute to. There are a lot of options in the Championship! Barnsley, Doncaster, Scunthorpe – i’m sure these teams would jump at the chance of a loan of Grella.

    Now imagine if Grella goes on loan and starts scoring goals and Leeds have the tough season that all the press are predicting – that’s potential egg on SG’s face. And I’m 100% sure that Grella would bust a gut while out on loan, not particularly for his loan tam, but just to prove a point to SG.

    Hmmmm – decisions, decisions for SG me thinks.

  26. AcresLeeds

    I think Grella’s quite within his rights to say what he has – I don’t see it as criticism – it’s understandable frustration on his part because he wants to play.

    Perhaps the key here is SG’s man management in these situations because many have questioned whether SG isolates fringe players and is possibly ‘unforgiving’ in certain instances ? Robinson & Kandol spring to mind,I know the latter hardly helped himself at times but,when we were poor they still hardly got a look in.

    I think with Grella he’s being quite clever with his statement because effectively he’s putting himself in the shop window as reagrds an approach from other clubs perhaps with a viw to a loan or something more permanent.

    Personally, if we do not get another striker in then I would like to see Grella given a proper chance at the start of this new season. If not, then at the very least we must loan him out and hope for a big improvement which will force SG’s hand.

    I think the guy is very talented and my major criticism is the common theme of him appearing to be a bit lightweight.Thing is though, that’s something of a double edged sword because the guy will only ever adapt fully to the rigours of the English game if he is actually played on a more regular basis.

    As I say, I hope Grella get’s his chance and takes it because he definitely has something there and with Paynter, Somma & Gradel unavailable for a number of games then this is a real opportunity to seize the initiative unless of course, SG has other ideas.

  27. richard

    Loan the lad out FFS, give him some experience with football, not sat on the bench and play the last 8 minutes.

  28. TheReaper08

    Send him out on loan to toughen up. As it happens I don’t think he is good enough, either way he would benefit from playing games.

    I don’t think it’s a dilemma for SG at all, right now he ain’t good enough and no amount of throwing his toys around is going to change that.

    • Colin

      We all said the same about Somma and then thought again after his Lincoln exploits. That said, Somma was made to play against Wakefield, which is strange.
      Grella wasn’t there.
      Is that because SG might play him against Derby? Now might be his chance to shine. From his comments, he’s certainly hungry enough.

  29. TheReaper08

    @TSS He is a bit behind the others fitness wise.

    @colin I didn’t say that about Somma, I don’t pass comment on players I haven’t seen play.

  30. number1inyorkshire

    somma and grella will be gone at the very least this time next season .neither has any future if they had he would play them .i think eventually though graysons downfall will be his friendship with his players there needs to be a little of that but you have to distance yourself

  31. Dave

    Loan him out beckford went out on loan and came back a better player for it maybe the same will happen here.


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