23-year-old Niclas Eliasson has been one of the Bristol City stars this season as the Robins have risen to sixth in the table, however he has started just three league games so far this campaign.
Eliasson has mainly been a bench option for Lee Johnson’s City side, and the Swedish winger will be hungry to be starting more games with a busy festive period beginning to approach for the Championship sides.
When he has come on as a substitute so far this season, the Swedish winger has taken his chance by providing an urgency and speeding up the tempo to the Robins side with his direct running, however not fitting in to Johnson’s system has been a main factor for Eliasson constantly warming the bench.
Being an out-and-out winger, the only spot that Eliasson could fit in to when Johnson plays a 3-5-2 is at wing-back and when the 4-4-2 diamond is used, the winger would struggle to have an impact from midfield.
Despite being the Championship’s most creative player this season with six assists, assisting a league goal every 86.8 minutes, Eliasson is struggling to find a spot where he can fit in to the starting 11.
Should Eliasson be starting more games for Bristol City?
Unless the Swede improves defensively, it is unlikely that he will get a look-in at Ashton Gate with the system not benefiting the talents that he undoubtedly has.
If Eliasson is to be named in the starting 11 on a more regular occasion this season, then he will need to do what is asked of him early on from the start, as his impact off the bench this campaign has been drastically better for the Robins this season than the impact he’s had in his rare starts this season.
The Sweden youth international will be determined and hungry to prove to Johnson that he has what it takes to be given a starting berth in the Championship, however deep down the winger knows that his manager is right to not start him in the current system that he operates with.
In a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 diamond, the 2017 signing from IFK Norrkoping could end up going missing and not have as much of an impact if too much defensive pressure is put on him, but he would agree with Johnson that the system doesn’t quite suit him yet and that he will have to continue having that attacking impetus off the bench when Johnson calls for his services.