Noel Whelan has expressed his concerns over Ezgjan Alioski playing at full-back for Leeds United this season, following his performance in the win over Barnsley at the weekend.
Alioski was a key player for Leeds last season and has started the last four Championship matches for the Whites at left-back, scoring in the 3-0 win at Stoke City last month.
The versatile 27-year-old, who is naturally a winger, played the entire match on Sunday as Leeds returned to the top of the Championship table on goal difference with a 2-0 win at Oakwell – thanks to two late goals from Eddie Nketiah and Mateusz Klich.
Barry Douglas had started the first three league games of the season for Leeds at left-back, before injury gave Alioski a chance.
However, former Leeds striker Whelan has been far from impressed by what he has seen from Alioski at full-back and has claimed that he still has a lot to learn if he is to keep his place in the side in that position.
“His defending at time is very lacking in quality, he can be a liability. Alioski is a 100 per center who will run all day but, when it comes to defending, he goes to ground and sells himself too often,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“Good defenders stay on their feet. Three times against Barnsley, he slid in to tackle, ended on the ground and was out of the game.
“He needs to learn if he wants to play in that position and stay in the side. It’s a big worry for Leeds if he doesn’t learn from his mistakes.”
Leeds returned to the top of the Championship table at the weekend and will be looking to continue their momentum with another three points against Derby County at Elland Road on Saturday lunchtime
I agree with Whelan here. Alioski is a good player, he gives his all every time his steps onto the pitch and his versatility makes him a very useful option for Leeds to have, but he’s produced some questionable displays at full-back.
As a natural winger, he’s obviously very good going forward but he hasn’t been as good defensively.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he can keep his place in the side at left-back or whether Marcelo Bielsa will give Douglas another chance.
Leeds have got some very talented wingers in their squad, so if he doesn’t play at left-back, it’s going to be very difficult for Alioski to start games for Leeds on the wing ahead of the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Helder Costa.