Earlier this week, former Leeds United hero Ross McCormack joined Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners on a season-long loan deal.
Rewind a little over a year, and the Scotsman was hotly tipped for a return to Elland Road. Out of favour under Steve Bruce, Thomas Christiansen was eyeing him up as someone who could bolster his attack after Chris Wood’s departure.
In truth, it wouldn’t have been a bad signing at the time, provided McCormack’s attitude improved. But it wouldn’t be now.
Not under Marcelo Bielsa, with his high-pressing game and preference for young, hungry, intelligent footballers who are willing to adapt to his demands.
Leeds are better than McCormack
Bielsa has Leeds top of the Championship, playing some exceptional, high-tempo football. Kemar Roofe has been electric so far this season and even in the absence of Patrick Bamford, youngster Tyler Roberts has stepped into the breach.
The Argentine’s methods require his players to be fit, willing to learn and work hard. McCormack, on the evidence of his time at Aston Villa, does not fall into any of those categories.
Of course the likes of Roberts have more to learn. But Bielsa would rather work with players who are keen to run all day for him.
McCormack wouldn’t even jump his own fence to get to Villa training. Can you imagine him jumping through hoops for Bielsa?
Another reason to credit Bielsa
Credit must go to Bielsa for giving Leeds such a clear identity so quickly. A year ago, in the immediate aftermath of Wood’s departure, McCormack would likely have been welcomed back.
A little over a year later, he has left Villa on loan and Leeds fans are not berating their club for not moving to re-sign him; despite their current striking injury crisis.
Thanks to Bielsa, and a lot of hard work from the players, Leeds have outgrown McCormack, and players of similar ilk.