Noel Whelan questions current Leeds midfielder, calls for change
By Tom Blackburn
Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan has questioned the role of Toumani Diagouraga in the midfield, ahead of their clash with Birmingham on Saturday.
Diagouraga started alongside Ronaldo Vieira in the Leeds midfield last weekend, as they were hammered 3-0 by QPR in their Championship opener.
Whelan has called for a change from boss Garry Monk, saying last week’s set up was a big issue.
“Garry Monk has a real problem there because, for me, Diagouraga hardly did anything,” Whelan said on The Noel Whelan Show on BBC Radio Leeds on Friday evening.
“I don’t know what he was actually doing in the first game. He was far too deep on the centre-halves’ toes. He wasn’t doing anything in the game, you know, committing forward. The midfield players were getting far too much time to turn on the ball and pick out passes.
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“So he [Monk] has got a real dilemma here on who to pick because [Ronaldo] Vieira and [Kalvin] Phillips – bundles of energy, very physical as well, they like a challenge.
“Diagouraga, for me, is the one that I would be questioning whether he is the right man for that job.”
The 29-year-old featured 14 times for Leeds last season after joining the Yorkshire club in January, and the defensive midfielder said in July that the squad’s strong chemistry will play a part in them being successful for the forthcoming Championship campaign.
“There’s a very good chemistry in the squad. If we’re going to be successful, it’s not going to be just 11 players – it’s going to be about the full squad,” said Diagouraga to the Leeds website.
The combative midfielder joined Leeds for £700,000 in January from Brentford, having played 244 times for the Londoners over seven years.
He started his career with French giants PSG but moved to Watford in 2005 and has stayed in England with a range of clubs since then.
In other Leeds news, they are expected to start a new signing in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Birmingham.