By Alex Stevens
Marcus Antonsson still has a big role to play for Leeds, according to former striker Andy Ritchie.
The Elland Road legend is convinced that the Swedish forward can still be a major asset for Garry Monk’s side when he has fully settled into English football.
Ritchie, who was a prolific scorer during a four-year spell at Leeds in the 1980s, has been encouraged by what he has seen of Antonsson, who has had to play second fiddle to main man Chris Wood for most of his debut campaign.
“It has not obviously gone as well as Marcus Antonsson would have liked this season,” said Ritchie in his weekly Yorkshire Evening Post column. “But for me, I think he is still learning the game over here.
“From what I have seen of him, I think he is quite a decent player and he looks quite creative with a little bit of pace.
“Let’s hope he can be a big player next season and can do bits this season still as well. But it will be tough for him now. For Leeds, it is all about battening down the hatches and just getting the results now.
“Leeds need extra goals from other players, but they need to really dig first and foremost and produce battling performances.”
Antonsson, 25, has not even made the substitute’s bench for Leeds’ last four matches even though he is fully fit and has even been selected for the Under-23s on one occasion.
The former Kalmar FF player has not had any league action since a late substitute appearance in the 3-0 win against Rotherham on 2 January, and has not scored in the Championship since October.
He played the full 90 minutes of each of Leeds’ FA Cup matches in January but might now have to wait to an injury to leading scorer Wood to force his way back into the reckoning.
Antonsson has made 21 appearances in all competitions for the Yorkshire giants this season but has scored just three goals, two of which came in the League Cup.