Leeds fans are desperate for Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown to get his chance in the first-team.
The attacker, who joined on loan from Chelsea in the summer, hasn’t played for the first-team yet but is homing in on a debut. He’s played in the last few Under-23 games and been on the bench without coming on for the last two senior games.
Leeds play Bolton on Saturday after their FA Cup break and it looks like it could be make or break time for Brown.
However, Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay says that he’s not sure Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is convinced about Brown and it doesn’t bode well for the future of the 22-year-old at Elland Road.
“This has got to be his moment, but I’m yet to be convinced that Bielsa is 100% sold on him,” Hay said on the latest episode of the Inside Elland Road podcast (starts 5:29).
“It was quite telling about a week ago, [Patrick] Bamford was doing the press conference and we were asking why he didn’t play in the Under-23s as Bielsa seems to want everyone to do that before they get back in the first team.
“He said that Bielsa put him through a training session and then said, ‘I don’t want you in the Under-23s, I want you in the first-team and this is your chance to prove you can do it.’
“Bielsa seems to be holding off on Brown for as long as he possibly can. He’s essentially been back, albeit with hamstring problem in-between for around three months now and if he doesn’t make an impact soon he won’t be able to, with games running out.
“It’s still very much in the balance as to whether it’s a good transfer for Leeds or whether they’ve gambled and lost.”
With Kemar Roofe, who has been playing the number 10 role with Bamford up front, injured, Leeds fans were hoping that Brown could slot straight in and take the slack while Roofe recovers.
That doesn’t look nailed on at all at the moment. If Brown doesn’t play – at least off the bench – on Saturday, serious questions will be asked.
Yes, Brown has been out for a long time and Leeds don’t want to rush him back. But, he’s not been blowing us away in his Under-23s performances and it might be that Bielsa isn’t convinced he can come in and live with the pace in the Championship.
If he can’t Leeds potentially have a big problem on their hands, with questions over the long-term fitness of Jack Clarke, and Leeds fans have every right to be scared about the rest of the season.
Bielsa’s side have had a ridiculous number of injuries this season but if they’ve gambled and lost with Brown, and missed out on the opportunity to sign anyone in January, we hope that promotion isn’t going to turn out to be a gamble they might lose too.