Ben Parker has told LS11 that Javi Gracia could have made Elland Road “erupt” by bringing on Willy Gnonto, simply because using the Italian would have delighted fans – but he “missed a tricky” by keeping Gnonto on the bench.
Gnonto, 19, remained on the bench on Tuesday night as Leeds drew with Leicester. A game deemed must win, but Leeds failed to get over the line. Jamie Vardy’s equaliser cancelled out Luis Sinisterra’s opener, missing chances.
Patrick Bamford and Marc Roca should have scored a winner in injury time. Gracia made two changes on the night, one of which was forced. Crysencio Summerville replaced the injured Sinisterra, while Brenden Aaronson came on.
There has been massive furore over the refusal to bring on Gnonto. Fans sung his name and “make a sub” to Gracia, but he stayed unused. Ex-Leeds man Parker said his introduction, regardless of his quality, would’ve delighted fans.
“If we brought Gnonto on – yeah he’s quality, dribbling is great – but what it would have done to Elland Road, the place would have erupted,” Parker said. “A big atmosphere with 20 minutes to go. We needed something like that.
“We missed a trick, there. Gnonto is a nasty git, he gets around people, he fights for the badge and we missed a trick not bringing him on,” Parker continued on LS11, when discussing Gracia’s decision not to use Gnonto.
Parker: Gracia would have made Elland Road erupt by bringing on Gnonto
Instead, Gracia has now made a rod for his own back by his stubbornness when it comes to his usage of Gnonto. The Italian, who many believe could be the man to actually save Leeds, has not started since the win over Wolves.
Leeds needed a spark on Tuesday. They had it in Jack Harrison but against a tiring defence, the speed and direct nature of Gnonto would have surely put Leicester on the back foot. Parker is right, Gracia missed a trick.