Tony Dorigo has claimed that on-loan Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah will offer Leeds United more upfront than fellow attacker Patrick Bamford, as questions over which of the pair should lead the line for Leeds this season continue to be asked.
So far this year it has been Bamford who has been given the nod by Bielsa, with the 26-year-old starting all seven of Leeds’ Championship matches this season, scoring four goals in the process.
In contrast to that, all four of Nketiah’s league appearances this have come from the bench, with the Arsenal loanee twice finding the net, which includes scoring the opening goal of Leeds’ 2-0 win at local rivals Barnsley on Sunday.
Speaking about the decision over which of the pair Bielsa should be picking from the start in the aftermath of the Barnsley win, Dorigo – who made over 200 appearances for Leeds between 1991 and 1997 – told LUTV: “What he’s got, that Bamford hasn’t quite got, is that ability to go beyond [the defence].
“He’s got that electric pace, Bamford is quick, but Nketiah has got that little bit extra. He’s a little bit sharper”.
Looking at the situation from his perspective as a former defender, Dorigo continued: “As a defender, I’d be worried as Nketiah can come to feet or go over the back.
“If you have two things to worry about, suddenly I give that extra half a yard, and that is when good players can play. He gets defenders thinking, and he’s a natural scorer.”
With five wins and a draw from their opening seven league games, Leeds currently lead the early Championship standings, and are next in action when they host Derby County at Elland Road on Saturday.
I do find myself agreeing with Dorigo here.
For all his ability, I do think that Bamford is prone to spells of inconsistency, and that is something that could cost Leeds in a similar way to last season if it is not addressed.
In contrast to that, Nketiah is already looking unerringly clinical in a Leeds shirt, and that is something that shows very little sign of stopping any time soon, which could make him the more reliable option for Bielsa.
Whichever striker they go for, however, the quality of both Nketiah and Bamford, coupled with their rather encouraging start to the Championship season, suggests that this is a very promising position for Leeds to be in.