Lascelles and Hayden axed: Leeds and Newcastle best combined XI
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Jamaal Lascelles and Isaac Hayden would be axed in a combined Newcastle and Leeds XI ahead of their upcoming showdown.
A fierce promotion battle is expected to ensue in the next round of Championship fixtures on Friday with Leeds and Newcastle going head to head.
Leeds travel to St. James’ Park looking to tighten their grip on the play-off places, boasting just a five point lead over seventh-placed Fulham.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are in a more comfortable position heading into the business end of the season, where they sit two points adrift of league leaders Brighton.
The two sides are expected to fight tooth and nail in a thrilling encounter on Friday night, and Football Insider has revealed who would make the cut in a combined Leeds and Newcastle XI.
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Leeds veteran Rob Green gets the nod in between the sticks ahead of his Newcastle counterpart, Karl Darlow.
The 37-year-old has proven to be one of Leeds’ most valuable and most reliable assets this season, keeping 15 clean sheets from 41 league appearances. Darlow, meanwhile, has kept 13 clean sheets.
At the back, there are two players from either side. Leeds full-back Luke Ayling takes up arms on the right-hand side as arguably the most underrated player at Elland Road this season.
DeAndre Yedlin of Newcastle has also performed admirably, despite his recent injury concerns, and would be named at left-back.
Ciaran Clark and Pontus Jansson would be the first-choice pairing at the heart of the defence, meaning there would be no place for either Jamaal Lascelles or Kyle Bartley.
The selection of playmaker Jonjo Shelvey in the midfield, meanwhile, is a no-brainer.
The 25-year-old has offered what many of Newcastle’s remaining midfield options can’t offer and that is a reliable source of assists and pinpoint distribution. Shelvey has 12 assists and five goals this season.
His partner would not be Newcastle team-mate Isaac Hayden however, and instead, Leeds youngster Ronaldo Vieira.
The 18-year-old is already looking the part as a regular first team footballer at Elland Road, earning a key role in Garry Monk’s side with 35 appearances this term.
Pablo Hernandez and Matt Ritchie would be named as the two wide players in the combined XI. Ritchie has slipped under the radar with 15 goals and 10 assists for Newcastle this season.
His Leeds counterpart, meanwhile, has not had a major influence in recent weeks, but is still the chief creative outlet in the Leeds side.
Unsurprisingly, Chris Wood and Dwight Gayle would lead the line, having scored 49 goals between them.