This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa will be satisfied with his side’s start to the season, having taken four points from a possible six in the Championship, whilst reaching the second round of the League Cup following a victory over Salford City.
In the league it has been 29-year-old left-back Barry Douglas who has been given the nod to start by Bielsa, whilst in the League Cup it was Ezgjan Alioski who was promoted to the starting XI.
So ahead of a trip to Wigan Athletic at the weekend, should Douglas retain his starting spot for league matches, or is it time to recall Alioski?
“I think I’d probably be looking to bring Alioski back in.
“It seems as though Douglas has struggled slightly to get back up to speed in that role, and Leeds will not want to leave themselves exposed in any position on the pitch as they push for promotion again this season.
“With Alioski having played a significant role in that near-miss last season, it does seem as though bringing him back into the fold could be a boost for Leeds.
“However, considering he has been out for some time with injury, Leeds may want to gradually manage his return to senior football, something they already seem to be doing, so Douglas’ time in the side may not be over just yet.”
“It’d be harsh to drop Douglas already.
“Throughout last season, I was adamant that Alioski was the better suited option to Bielsa’s system and I predominantly still think that in fairness.
“But, the former Wolves man has played pretty well in the opening two league games, however, if he does not start to add more at the other end of the pitch, I suspect Alioski could get the call.
“The Macedonian was a constant threat down the left last season. Douglas has shown how good he can be in attack for Wolves and it is time he rediscovered that touch.”
“Although Ezgjan Alioski showed some promising signs at full-back last season, I think that Bielsa should stick by Douglas during the current campaign.
“Whereas the Scotland international failed to live up to expectations during his debut season at Elland Road due to a myriad of injury issues, there is no reason why he cannot bounce back for the Whites this year.
“Unquestionably one of the best defensive players in the Championship on his day, Douglas will be confident that he can achieve promotion to the top-flight for the second time in three years having done so with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2017.
“However, if Douglas fails to stay fit, Alioski will be waiting in the wings to claim the full-back role as his own with teenager Leif Davis also keeping a close eye on proceedings having made a cameo role against Bristol City earlier this month.”