Three reasons why Leeds must recall attacker against Fulham
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Garry Monk must start Alfonso Pedraza against Fulham on Tuesday night after the Spaniard opened his account for the Yorkshire giants.
Pedraza, 20, showed fans what he was really capable of last time out, as he came off the substitutes’ bench to slot home Leeds’ third in a 3-1 win away at Birmingham City.
The Spaniard has found the going tough in Yorkshire so far since his deadline-day loan move from La Liga outfit Villarreal, but here are three reasons why he should start on Tuesday.
The current trio of attacking midfielders are failing to find the form that had seen Leeds become a feared prospect from out wide earlier in the season. Stuart Dallas and Souleymane Doukara started against Birmingham on Friday night, but failed to provide any sort of inspiration or support to Championship top scorer Chris Wood, with his strikes coming from a Luke Ayling long ball and substitute Kalvin Phillips’ cut back. Hadi Sacko dropped out of the side to face the Blues after a lack of composure became quickly apparent, scoring just twice all season. With all three attacking players struggling to provide a consistent threat from out wide, Pedraza’s new-found confidence should be thrown in at the deep end against Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham.
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Possessing plenty of pace from the wing, Spain Under-21’s international Pedraza could provide the difference against play-off chasing Fulham as he can give Leeds the basis on which to counter attack. The Cottagers are known for their patience with the ball, as Serbian manager Jokanovic favours a possession-based style of football. With Leeds not expecting to see much of the ball in west London, a pacy counter attack should be adopted in an attempt to keep New Zealand international Wood from becoming isolated. Pedraza would be the perfect man to provide that quality against Fulham.
Desperate to prove himself
Pedraza signed for Leeds along with Modou Barrow on deadline day, after cancelling his loan with Spanish second division side Lugo to move to the north of England. With the temporary spell under the terms of a loan-to-buy deal, Pedraza is already running out of time to prove himself to Monk, with just 11 league games to go before the end of the season. Allowing him to start just his second match of the season against Fulham could give Pedraza the confidence and self-belief to go on and impress former Swansea boss Monk, as he looks to impress his manager enough to earn a permanent stay with the former Champions League side.