Darren Bent claims that Leeds United striker Eddie Nketiah is under added pressure to perform after it was confirmed Patrick Bamford is a doubt for the clash versus Queens Park Rangers.
The former Spurs and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the young hitman will be expected to step into his teammate’s shoes and perform straight away if the 26-year-old is forced to sit out the clash at Elland Road.
Bielsa confirmed at his press conference that Bamford was a doubt for Saturday’s game due to an ankle problem, with the likes of Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski also facing late fitness tests.
💬 Marcelo provides an update on the team: "Pablo Hernandez is fit, Patrick Bamford has a little problem with the ankle. Alioski [hip] and Douglas [knee] have a problem as well, but it's not definite yet [as to whether they will miss the game]." pic.twitter.com/WlYvXfAXm2
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 31, 2019
With Nketiah Bielsa’s second-choice striker at Elland Road, Bent says that the Arsenal loanee is facing the pressure not only in Yorkshire but back in north London as well.
Bent told Football Insider: “This is his opportunity, the opportunity comes in funny ways sometimes and this is his. If anything now, more pressure is on him because people have spoken about wanting him to start, he’s said himself he’s frustrated sitting on the bench.
“Now it’s time to show us. I’ve been thinking about this, it’s a real strange position for him to be in. While he’s away not getting much game time, this young kid at Arsenal (Gabriel) Martinelli can’t stop scoring – seven goals in four starts – now it’s a case of what does he do?
“That could have been him, he chose to go away and play games which I’m all for but when you go somewhere, and you’re not playing consistently, young players will always come up behind you. Martinelli’s scoring goal after goal – is he in front of Eddie Nketiah now?”
Nketiah has played 10 times in the Championship for Leeds this season but not one of those outings has come in the starting XI, with Bamford Bielsa’s preferred choice to lead the line.
The former Middlesbrough man has found himself hooked at half-time in two of the club’s last three games, including the 0-0 draw versus Sheffield Wednesday.
In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can reveal the club have made up their minds about pursuing a Premier League forward.