There will be few tears shed among the Leeds United faithful when, as now seems inevitable, it is announced at some point this month that the season-long loan of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has been terminated at the halfway point.
The Daily Mail reported today (Thursday) that Manchester United have decided to cut short Borthwick-Jackson’s loan after being “disappointed” at the game time he has been afford at Elland Road.
The majority of Leeds fans will shrug ‘so what’, insist that the 20-year-old failed to live anywhere up to his billing for half a season and point at the arrival of new left-back Laurens De Bock that the team will finish the window stronger in the position than they started it.
Yet, there is a nagging sense that Thomas Christiansen and his coaching staff have got it horribly wrong with Borthwick-Jackson.
Sure, there might be some issues that have gone on behind the scenes. The England Under-20 international could have been slacking in training or not demonstrating the attitude or work ethic required.
But, in the player’s defence, he has barely had a chance. Just a single, measly Championship appearance, against Preston back in early August when he actually played very well.
Apart from that, the player who broke into the Manchester United first team under Louis van Gaal two seasons ago and was regarded as both a big name arrival and someone who could fill the gap left by the exit of Charlie Taylor to Burnley has had to live off scraps.
Four League Cup appearances and a single FA Cup showing. True, Borthwick-Jackson was wretched against Newport County last Sunday, but he was not alone in that among the visiting players to Rodney Parade.
It was also his first selection in nearly three months.
While Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling have been given countless opportunities to play themselves back into form after delivering a series of horrible displays – particularly in the dog days of October and late September, Borthwick-Jackson has not been afforded the same luxury.
He has barely made a matchday league squad even though the team has been crying out for a natural left-footer who can overlap with energy and menace.
Christiansen must take his share of the blame. If Borthwick-Jackson was so lacking, why are Fulham and Reading trying to sign him? Why did he look so good when breaking into the Man United first team?
The player cannot be said to have grasped his opportunity. But Christiansen has ensured those chances have been severely limited.