Ian Holloway has backed Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa and suggested he is doing the right thing by using Eddie Nketiah off the bench in the Championship.
The 20-year-old Arsenal loanee is the Whites leading scorer this season with five goals, despite not yet starting in their league campaign so far.
Bielsa has used Patrick Bamford as his first-choice striker in every Championship game so far, despite the 26-year-old being less effective in front of goal.
Do you back Marcelo Bielsa's judgement in the Nketiah v Bamford dilemma?
According to LUFCStats, Nketiah has scored more goals at a significantly faster rate and has a higher shot accuracy and conversion rate.
COMPARISON: Eddie Nketiah vs. Patrick Bamford:
Conversion rate: 28%-8%
Mins per goal: 78-247
Shots per goal: 3.6-12.0
Nketiah is now Leeds' leading scorer with 5 goals this season. Patrick Bamford's alarming 8% conversion rate looks even worse against Nketiah's 28%. pic.twitter.com/FqZQBBJZJJ
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) October 23, 2019
The England U21 striker came from the bench on Tuesday evening to score a late equaliser against Preston North End, which has only increased calls from fans that he should be in the starting XI moving forward.
Up to this point, Bielsa has not bowed to that pressure but it will be interesting to see who he picks to start against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Writing in his column for the Mirror, Holloway backed the Argentine coach and revealed he felt that he was making the right decision.
He said: “Marcelo Bielsa is doing the right thing by keeping Eddie Nketiah on the bench–and bringing him on to score goals.
“He’s not starting because he is inexperienced–but he is brilliant at what he does in the moment. In 90 minutes he might not give you what he is giving you as an impact off the bench. That’s clever management.
“I’m very aware that being a manager you have to put people in the right position and that is part of your skill. So I would give Marcelo Bielsa credit that Nketiah is coming off the bench and scoring.
“Some young players who start regularly lose their efficiency. They think they are ready for the 90 minutes but they aren’t quite.
“I fully understand what Bielsa is doing and fully respect it–because he has been a manager for a long, long time.
“At the minute–I wouldn’t change a successful situation. Nketiah is still a very, very young man and every time he comes on, he scores. So why change anything?”
A win for Leeds at Hillsborough could see them go top of the Championship if results elsewhere go their way, while a loss would see Wednesday go above them in the table.
The Nketiah v Bamford debate has been going on all season but it seems to really be reaching its peak now–it appears to be the biggest decision facing Bielsa right now.
With so many people backing the 20-year-old, it’s refreshing to hear an alternative opinion and I think Holloway makes a very good point.
Nketiah has been very effective coming from the bench late in games and was much less so when he came on at half time against Birmingham City.
It is going to be interesting to see how he approaches Saturday’s game but I can’t help thinking it will be Bamford in the starting XI.