Phil Hay has been speaking about Junior Firpo’s lack of defensive ability on The Phil Hay Show.
It was obvious over the summer that Leeds were in desperate need of a new left-back once it was made clear that Ezgjan Alioski was leaving the club as a free agent and Marcelo Bielsa decided to move for Barcelona left-back, Junior Firpo.
Do Leeds need a new left-back?
It’s been a rocky start to life at Elland Road for the full-back as Leeds are experiencing difficult times on the pitch, somewhat of an injury crisis which means he’s had to play alongside players like Charlie Cresswell and Kalvin Phillips in the backline which will not be helping him settle in, although as Hay eluded to, defending has never been his strong point.
Hay spoke about what people have said about Firpo and his defensive capabilities.
“I can see him getting involved going forward, I do think that when Leeds are in possession and attacking, he is starting to grasp the overlaps and the underlaps and is making an impression in that respect.
“Defensively, it’s been a challenge for him, particularly against [Mohamed] Salah in the Liverpool game. Speaking to people over the summer and people in Spain, especially those who’d seen him at Barcelona, they did give the impression that defending one-on-one was not a huge strength of his.
“But also the way Bielsa’s teams set up and the way they play they are prone to full-backs leaving a lot of space in behind, it’s always been like that.
“That’s been part of the reason why Kalvin Phillips has been so crucial to that team because he is good at marshalling the space out wide, he’s very good at looking for trouble coming down either flank when the full-backs do bomb on as they are told to.”
TIF Thoughts on Firpo…
The 25-year old cost Leeds £13.5 million in the summer but when he’s been on the pitch they’ve conceded 10 goals in the league and has had to come up against players such as Mohamed Salah and Mason Greenwood already, it’s certainly not been an easy start to life in the Premier League.
With Firpo though, he’s unlikely to be dropped given the severe lack of options in his position so this should allow him sufficient game time to learn and understand Bielsa’s style of play and demands. Also, Leeds’ fixtures are a lot more favourable in the upcoming weeks as they face clubs such as Watford, Southampton and Wolves in their next four matches so they could offer potentially easier tasks.