Marsch faces huge task with future decision on Leeds' modern day legends
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Marsch faces huge task with future decision on Leeds' modern day legends

Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich have established themselves as modern day Leeds United legends, more than playing their part in sealing promotion and helping the Whites re-establish themselves back in the Premier League.

The quartet have wracked up over 900 appearances for the club between them. And they will forever be synonymous with the side Marcelo Bielsa built and took back to the promised land.

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But there is something of an uncomfortable truth that Victor Orta and Jesse Marsch will have to face up to at some stage regarding the four players.

It may not be this summer. It may not even be in the next 12 months. But at some stage, Marsch faces a massive decision. And that is when the time has come for Leeds to move on from those who played such a key role in the side that got promoted and then finished ninth in the Premier League.

Leeds have barely survived in the Premier League this time around. They cannot afford to be a similar situation this time next year.

Obviously, we are not asking for hundreds of millions to be spent on a new squad. But the board must now learn from past mistakes.

They must strengthen in several key areas. And unfortunately, some of those decisions may mean that some of the club heroes see less game-time next year.

Dramatic survival highlights horrible challenge in front of Jesse Marsch

This is absolutely not a call for the players to be sold. As a 29-year-old Leeds supporter, I would petition for a statue to be built of each member of the promotion-winning side having started to wonder if Championship mediocrity was as good it was now going to get for my club.

And I would love nothing more than for Ayling, Cooper, Dallas and Klich to go on and shine in a Leeds side thriving in the Premier League.

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Cooper was largely outstanding following his return from injury. And Dallas has probably stepped up when Leeds needed a hero more times than anyone over the last four years. The Northern Irishman could easily be a key player upon his return from injury, too.

But Klich’s influence has waned. Ayling has not had his best campaign – though some of that may well be down to injury. And Cooper still has his limitations as a defender at the very highest level.

Leeds will suffer if departures of any of their modern day legends are handled poorly

The four players should have a big role to play amongst the squad next year. And that is why Marsch’s challenge is so tricky.

He needs to weigh up when the time is right to sign upgrades on each player. And then, he needs to help weigh up when the time is right to let them go.

Hopefully, the latter issue does not need to be addressed for some time for any of the four. But you could certainly argue now is the time when a new right-back, centre-back and central midfielder must be signed.

Leeds will benefit from having Cooper, Ayling, Dallas and Klich in the ranks next year.

And Leeds will absolutely suffer if any of their future departures are handled poorly.

But Leeds have been handed a warning this past season.

And it has perhaps reminded everyone that at some stage Marsch faces a horrible decision regarding when the time will be right to give a new crop of players the chance to become legends.

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