Noel Whelan has claimed that Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski is lucky to escape the axe for the clash against Stoke City after Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Barry Douglas’ absence from the side.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker and lifelong supporter says that the Macedonian international did nothing against Brentford in midweek to suggest that he should retain his place in the starting XI.
Douglas missed out against the Bees through injury and as confirmed by Bielsa will be absent once again for the clash against Stoke on Saturday afternoon.
Barry Douglas isn't available but could play against Stoke in the League Cup.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) August 23, 2019
Whelan insists that Alioski is fortunate to have kept his place in the starting line up against the Potters, suggesting he will be facing being dropped when Douglas eventually returns to fitness.
He told Football Insider: “I think his lack of game time showed the other night. Loose passes, he didn’t look very comfortable at times with the ball at his feet. Going forward, that quality of putting the ball into the box wasn’t there. The quality at times if frustrating, it’s got to be frustrating for Bielsa as well.
“It’s a lack of concentration and carelessness. Would he be starting if Barry Douglas was fit against Stoke? I very much doubt it. I don’t think he proved enough the other night to say that he’s going to be taking Barry Douglas’ place.
“If Douglas is fit, he plays, simple as.”
Alioski found himself moved into a left wing-back role by Bielsa last season and ended up playing 47 times across all competitions before injury left him unavailable for the final games of the campaign.
His appearance against Brentford was his first Championship start of the current season, having featured as a substitute against both Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.
In other Leeds United news, one White has been described by BBC pundit as a “man possessed” who is “doing impossible things” for the club.