Leeds United fans have been growing increasingly frustrated that their injury problems are not as well documented as the likes of Liverpool, Leicester City and Southampton – but have still managed to cope despite having four central defenders in the treatment room at times – but remaining in mid-table obscurity despite only gaining promotion last term.
At one point in the season, Marcelo Bielsa had two new summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, captain Liam Cooper and useful squad player Gaetano Berardi on the sidelines. It meant right-back Luke Ayling had to partner rookie centre-back Pascal Struijk in the middle of the defence. Even now, Koch and Berardi are still unavailable.
Liverpool’s injury crisis at centre-back has been well documented. Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk have long-term issues, while Joel Matip has also spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines. However, the Premier League champions have brought in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak – and still gain plenty of sympathy for their injury issues.
So do Leicester – yes, the Foxes have suffered numerous issues, again, in defence. Harvey Barnes and James Justin have recently been ruled out, and look likely to miss Euro 2021. But the plaudits they have recieved for maintaining their excellent form despite the injuries is enormous – though well-placed. The argument is, that Leeds deserve the same.
Indeed, QPR loanee and former Premier League striker Austin is of the belief that Leeds deserve praise. After hearing of the club’s injury problems throughout the campaign, the new TalkSPORT pundit applauded Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa for managing to maintain their form this season despite the amount of injuries suffered – which will delight Leeds fans:
“That just shows how good of a job he’s (Marcelo Bielsa) done and how much trust he has in the group of players,” Austin said – as per Leeds Live. “But not only the starting XI, the whole squad; this is what goes under the radar, it’s the squad that’s doing it for Leeds, not just eleven players. For the other three teams that we are talking about, their squad has not been able to replace the players that have been injured.”