Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he believes Adam Forshaw may find it tough to break back into the Leeds United side under Marcelo Bielsa with Victor Orta expected to bring in a number of new additions in the summer window. Martyn, though, does believe Forshaw could feature before the end of the season and put himself in the “shop window”.
Forshaw, 29, made his return to action with the club’s Under-23 side during a friendly against York City last Saturday where he clocked up 60 minutes – before lasting 83 minutes of the 2-1 win over Aston Villa as Leeds secured promotion from the second tier of Premier League 2 as champions. He played superbly, but came off the field of play, clutching his hamstring.
Bielsa has since stated that the hamstring injury will keep Forshaw out for an “undefined” period of time, as per Leeds Live. But the good news is that the injury is unrelated to his long-term hip problem that saw him last feature in September 2019. Spending the best part of two years on the sidelines, Forshaw is fighting to feature at least once before the end of the season – with six Premier League games still to play between now and then.
Martyn congratulated Mark Jackson’s Under-23 side for their promotion to the top tier of Premier League 2, before stating he was delighted to see ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Forshaw – who joined Leeds in January 2018 for a fee of £4.5million (Sun) – back in action, underlining how tough it must have been for the ball-playing ace to have been on the sidelines for so long.
“That’s a good achievement, getting promoted up with the big boys. It helps development playing against the best teams, week in week out,” Martyn said. “It bodes well for the future. They have played in Bielsa’s way and that means the transition will be seemless. Hats off to them. That’s really tough on any individual if you’re out for that long. If you’re told you can’t play football for the best part of two years, to live through that is really, really difficult. Pleased for him, pleased for any player who is out that long.”
Leeds have seen Stuart Dallas transition from a winger, into a full-back and now back into midfield – as a box-to-box midfielder, replacing an indifferent Mateusz Klich. Tyler Roberts continues to keep Rodrigo out of the side in attacking midfield alongside Dallas, but even then, there is likely to be additions in that position this summer. Rodrigo De Paul and Michael Cuisance were strongly linked with the club last summer. Jamie Shackleton is also an option, while Alfie McCalmont has scored 10 goals out on loan.
A new midfielder is likely to be targeted and asked whether Forshaw has a future at Elland Road beyond this summer, Martyn stated that it would be hard for the ex-Everton man to get into Bielsa’s plans given he has spent so long on the sidelines. He did state, though, that he hopes to see Forshaw play before the end of the campaign – which could put him in the “shop window”.
“It is down to him to impress when he is on the pitch and show that he is in the plans of the manager. It makes it difficult and the side gets promoted and even more settled. Leeds spent a lot of money on players recently, they will continue that spending. If you stand still, you fall back,” Martyn continued. “Player recruitment will go ahead, whether they think he is of the standard required – if they were signing someone, would it be for him? Probably not. I’m pleased to see him back, though, and I would like to see him get some minutes and if he does play, he is in the shop window.”