Matt Kilgallon has praised Willy Gnonto after Leeds United’s draw with Brighton, telling BBC Radio Leeds that he thinks that he now has to start the Whites’ next game.
Gnonto has had to be patient in the early stages of Javi Gracia’s tenure. He was our best player, by some distance, in the final stages of Jesse Marsch’s time in charge. But his influence had started to wane before Gracia’s arrival.
He was the first player brought off in the win against Southampton. And he has not started the two Premier League games since. He was unable to change the game against Chelsea. But he had a much more positive impact in the draw with Brighton.
Kilgallon issues verdict on Gnonto cameo in Leeds draw
Gnonto claimed an assist for Jack Harrison’s equaliser. And the 19-year-old looked a lot more like the player we were so excited about in the weeks after his debut.
With Crysencio Summerville not having his best game, there is certainly an argument that Gnonto has staked enough of a claim to start against Wolves.
And Kilgallon believes that Gracia will indeed reward Gnonto with a return to the team at Molineux.
“He’s a threat, isn’t he. You get it out to him, he’s fresh. He gets the ball, he’s positive. He gets the crowd up, he gets it and people stand up. You hear the chairs bang as people get up. He’s got something and he comes on, and he puts a shift in straight away. And he does well, doesn’t he. For a sub, you ask him to do it and he does it. He put them on the back foot, didn’t he, and made Brighton get a little bit deeper,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“I like him, I think he’s a real threat.
“I’d like to see him start the next game. And I think he will. I think he has to.”
Gracia made the right decision taking Gnonto out of the firing line. He has already done more than he should have had to in the last few months. He has put a number of his teammates to shame.
But with that, opposition sides had started to find ways to keep Gnonto quiet. His challenge is to find a way to unlock defences again. But, once again, his teammates also have to step up so we are not relying on a simple tactic of just getting the ball to Gnonto.
The onus is on Harrison, Brenden Aaronson, Summerville, Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and Luis Sinisterra, and whoever else may feature in attack to cause problems so teams are not able to focus more attention on Gnonto.
But it definitely appears that the time has come to give him another chance from the off.