COMMENT By Richard Parks
Pawel Cibicki was already way down the Leeds United pecking order even before Pontus Jansson used a Swedish newspaper to vent over his countryman’s mysterious absence.
Now, it would not be a surprise if the 24-year-old never plays another game for United.
It is telling that Cibicki is one of the few senior players who has not even been deemed worthy of a single minute of action since Paul Heckingbottom took the reins.
Bar a brief spell in the side either side of Christmas, when the former Sweden Under-21 international was given a few run-outs on the right flank, he has been frozen out of the team amid doubts about his physicality and ability to cope with the English Championship.
It is a worry that the former Sweden Under-21 international is at his most effective in dead ball situations, when the game stops.
Jansson, arguably Leeds’ prize playing asset, is unimpressed how his teammate has been treated, although he appeared keen to shift the blame away from current boss Heckingbottom.
Talking to Swedish outlet fotbollskanelen about Cibicki’s place on the sidelines, Jansson said: “I think it’s pretty sick. We won four or five matches when he started and he did well, but later he did not play anymore.
“It’s the boring part of the football world with a lot of politics. I try to help Pawel every day and keep him in good mood.
“He did well when he played and he deserves more, but then I can understand the new coach who may not have seen Pawel so much.”
Well, at least Christiansen did give Cibicki a go, handing him 10 appearances in total, the last of which came as a substitute in his penultimate match in charge against Hull City in January.
Heckingbottom has frozen the Swede out completely and not even named him in the matchday squad for six of the last seven matches.
Cibicki, 24, arrived at Elland Road last summer from Malmo for a fee of around £1.5million amid a whirlwind of new signings.
Jansson might have been attempting to speak up for his pal, but the United hierarchy are likely to be unimpressed at him questioning the selection policy.
Don’t be surprised if Cibicki never plays another match for Leeds before leaving in the summer window.
In other Leeds United news, 13 players are fighting for their jobs as behind-the-scenes planned laid for huge cull.