COMMENT By Richard Parks
Anyone but Vurnon.
That appears to be the stance of Paul Heckingbottom, whose regular tweaks of the Leeds United team almost always result in the same outcome for the Holland international; a place on the bench or sometimes not in the squad at all.
Enough is surely enough for Anita.
He must instruct his agent to find him a new club after his latest inexplicable omission following confirmation on Tuesday morning of the United squad for their post-season tour of Myanmar.
Manager Paul Heckingbottom has named a mixture of established first teamers and rising stars for the controversial trip, which will incorporate two friendlies.
Leeds United’s 22-man squad in Myanmar: Lonergan, Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Denton, O’Connor, Pearce, Saiz, Phillips, Vieira, Grot, Ekuban, Struijk, Clarke, Diaz, Shackleton, Machuca, Hosannah, Rey, Dalby, Edmondson, Gomes, Nicell. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) May 8, 2018
There are a few notable omissions, including World Cup participant Pontus Jansson, injured men like Stuart Dallas and Laurens De Bock, loanees Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Matthew Pennington, and seniors who have carried a heavy playing burden this season.
Like Felix Wiedwald, Anita stands out as one who is neither injured (although there has been a suggestion he has an ankle problem), heading back to his parent club or in need of a rest.
Unlike the German goalkeeper, what exactly has Anita done wrong? What does he have to do to get a game? Has something gone on behind the scenes that fans are unaware of? It just doesn’t add up.
The writing is surely on the wall after a baffling season for the Holland international.
Hailed as a super smart signing after being snapped up on a free last summer following the expiry of his contract at Newcastle United, he has made just 14 league starts out of a possible 46 and, when he has been used, it has mainly been as a makeshift left-back rather than in central midfield or right-back, where he played for the Premier League outfit.
Expected to be rock solid and mighty useful, perhaps one of the first names on the teamsheet, Anita has instead been a spare part and made just two appearances in the final 10 games.
He ended the regular season in the perplexing position of being fifth-choice right-back, and fourth-choice left-back.
As for his favoured central midfield role, Anita is so far down the pecking order, untested players in the Under-18s would probably get a go ahead of him.
The curious thing is that the Dutchman has actually played pretty well when he has been given a chance, in his understated way.
Clearly, Heckingbottom doesn’t fancy him, so Anita should demand showdown talks with the hierarchy and set about the process of finding a new club.
What other option does he have?