Leeds United fans were left stunned even before kick off against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night after Paul Heckingbottom chose to axe Felix Wiedwald in favour of young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
The Whites came into the back of the clash off a bitterly disappoint 3-0 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough last Friday at the Riverside, and the German goalkeeper, who has been the first choice between the sticks for much of the campaign, failed to cover himself in glory.
He was shaky with the ball in the air and his shot stopping abilities left much to be desired, allowing the ball to slip under his body for Patrick Bamford’s second on the way to his hat trick, and it is one of the few times you might say that Leeds may have conceded less had he not been in goal.
The manager, who has been at the Elland Road helm for just over a month, has not had much choice at the back, with Wiedwald’s only competition Peacock-Farrell and fellow youngster Kamil Miazek, senior stopper Andy Lonergan out of action through injury.
Now ‘Hecky’ has taken the plunge, handing the youngster his second senior start for the club after just seven unused substitute appearances this season, and the 21-year-old has been thrown well and truly in the deep end with a clash against the league leaders who will no doubt be baying for blood after three games without victory.
However, no matter whether the experiment succeeds or not, the stunning decision has proven that the manager is not one to tolerate sub-par performances, and will swing the axe quickly if he feels anyone is not pulling their weight, which in turn demands the respect from the squad and, for now, the supporters.
A lack of decisiveness was where Heckingbottom’s predecessor Thomas Christiansen lacked, and he paid with his job.
Now the new man in charge is grabbing the club by the scruff of the neck and making sure the players know who the top dog is.
Whether it works or not, supporters will have to wait and see, but the boldness makes a refreshing change from Christiansen’s apathy.
In other Leeds United news, one favourite of the Whites has spoken out about returning to Elland Road.