Lucas Radebe played 256 games for Leeds United between 1994 and 2005.
The South African left his homeland to join the West Yorkshire club and would go on to spend the rest of his playing career at Elland Road – he was a huge fan favourite and a part of the club’s success in the late 1990s.
Leeds finished 3rd in the 1999/00 Premier League season with Radebe as captain, who made himself a target of Manchester United, AC Milan and Roma’s after that inspiring season.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Radebe had his say on Leeds’ fortunes in returning to the Premier League, and believes they’re now ready to make that step:
“I watched them last season and I thought they were unlucky. But I think it was good that they stayed in the Championship and made sure that they galvanised.
“I met the owner of the club and he showed me the ground and he’s done a lot of work there. The academy as well, the training ground, it’s Premier League standard so I can’t see why they can’t come up this season.”
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Leeds’ return to the promised land has been on the cards for the past few seasons and after missing out in the play-offs last time round, Marcelo Bielsa’s men have given it all this time.
“Leeds have got this squad of players which are really looking forward and they’re hungry to play in the Premier League but you can see that quality as well,” continued Radebe.
Bielsa has made some Premier League quality players out of the likes of Kalvin Phillips, who’s been the standout performer for the club this season, and could well depart if Leeds aren’t promoted.
“They want teams coming to Elland Road and not feeling confident because with the fans it’s an absolutely amazing atmosphere,” explained Radebe. “But you don’t know what’s going to happen, whether the season will resume. It’s a tough one.”
Leeds are a passionate club and even in the Championship they attract huge gate numbers, packing out their own stadium and those of their competitors each week.
It’s a matter of time before Leeds return to the Premier League and even though the season’s hit an unprecedented hurdle, it seems as though Leeds will be promoted one way or another.
It would be criminal if Leeds missed out on the top-flight now. They were hitting their season best form before the break and even with a seven point gap over 3rd-place Fulham, fans will still be feeling angst over the season’s conclusion.
Nevertheless, Leeds are more than ready to make the step-up and when they do, expect them to remain a Premier League outfit for the foreseeable future.