Sam Greenwood has been brought in from the cold under Sam Allardyce at Leeds United.

The 21-year-old played just 10 minutes of action during Javi Gracia’s brief spell at Elland Road, with his only appearance coming from the bench in a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea back in March.

After playing the final half an hour of Allardyce’s first game in charge at Manchester City, Greenwood was handed his first league start since December against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United - Premier League
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The former Arsenal and Sunderland academy star started in a midfield three alongside Robin Koch and Weston McKennie, in what was a surprising team selection by the Leeds boss.

Given the starting XI Allardyce opted for, it was clear Greenwood was in the side for his ability from set-pieces, which in fairness to him, are often on the money.

But in a game against the quality Newcastle possess, a side in Leeds’ position cannot afford to carry any passengers.

Leeds United’s Greenwood midfield experiment must stop

Former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch was the first manager to try Greenwood out in a midfield role, and it was an experiment he continued to persist with up until he was sacked in February.

In truth, it is a role he has very rarely looked comfortable with and Saturday’s game against Newcastle was arguably the most he has struggled, which makes his inclusion by Allardyce all the more surprising.

Premier League matches are played at such an intensity, meaning midfielders must know what they are going to do with the ball long before they receive it.

Greenwood, though, does not currently have the speed of mind to play in that position, which makes him a liability both in and out of possession.

At a success rate of just 25%, Greenwood completed only two passes during the entire 45 minutes he was on the field against the Magpies.

Leeds were happy to allow Newcastle to enjoy the lion share of possession in the match, but compare that to his replacement Adam Forshaw – who completed 19 of his 23 attempted passes – it is night and day.

On at least two occasions in the first half, Greenwood found himself in time and space down the left channel with Jack Harrison on his outside.

Leeds United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

However, each time, he was either unable to weight his pass correctly or took too long to release the ball, and counter attacking opportunities like that cannot be wasted against such good opposition.

Greenwood was a prolific striker during his time in the youth sides of Leeds and Arsenal and that is where he should remain.

With Leeds now in desperate need of points in their final two matches to avoid relegation, there is little doubt that Forshaw should be getting the nod over Greenwood in the middle of the park.

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