COMMENT By Richard Parks
Stuart Dallas has surely lost his fight to save his Leeds United career.
It has emerged that the Northern Ireland international has torn his hamstring and his season is over, as well as any hope of participating on the post-season tour of Myanmar.
Dallas has certainly wasted the opportunities he has been given to win over the Leeds hierarchy and it is clear he is not up to the task of playing regularly for a team with genuine promotion ambitions.
Owner Andrea Radrizzani made it clear that the underperforming senior players were firmly in his firing line after accusing them last month of letting the club down in an outspoken and brutal verdict of the shortcomings of the squad.
None should have been more worried than Dallas, who epitomises the mediocrity of the first team regulars who have secured just three wins since Boxing Day as Leeds’ play-off hopes were left in tatters and they propped up the Championship form table for the second half of the campaign.
Handed a new three-year contract that was announced by the official Leeds website on 30 August of last year, it has been a mostly wretched campaign for the Irishman.
Dallas struggled for match time under ex-manager Thomas Christiansen, before playing more regularly under Paul Heckingbottom, recently as a makeshift full-back due to the long-term absences of Luke Ayling, Laurens De Bock and Gaetano Berardi.
It is unclear what the 27-year-old did to deserve 14 starts from 15 league matches, when former Premier League player Vurnon Anita offered a far more viable option.
In 32 matches in all competitions this season, Dallas has scored two goals and supplied a further two assists. Those are puny returns for an attacking midfielder whose principal job it is to create problems for opposition defences.
Radrizzani told talkSPORT in an explosive interview on the Jim White Show last month that he felt particularly angry with the players who were handed lucrative new contracts last year after he took over as sole owner of the club in May.
“We have given them everything possible to just focus on the football,” said the Leeds owner. “As a club we support them in everything – we gave them long-term contracts, we supported them going to a mid-season camp in Spain.
“We did everything they wanted, but we didn’t get back their commitment, passion and the spirit.”
Radrizzani did not name the players who were the subject of his ire, but it is clear that he was pointing the finger at the likes of Dallas.
The Ulsterman has the comfort and security of another two years on his contract. Even even he was pointed towards the exit door, he has to be paid up until 2020, or sold this summer.
Radrizzani’s public attack was a thinly-veiled attempt to cajole improved performances from Dallas and company.
It failed, and the only conclusion to be drawn is that the former Brentford wide man is not good enough for a club of Leeds’ calibre and expectations.
He had his chance and didn’t take it.
Leeds must wield the axe and get their mass overhaul underway.