By Editor Wayne Veysey
Garry Monk could not be more explicit.
He has zero faith in the abilities of Alex Mowatt and Matt Grimes to play in central midfield. As for Toumani Diagouraga and Luke Murphy, the writing was on the wall for them a long time ago.
Monk delivered the final nail in the coffin of the Leeds quartet with his teamsheet for Tuesday night’s Championship clash against Reading at Elland Road.
Three of the manager’s favoured four central midfielders were deemed unable to start due to injury or suspension, with Kalvin Phillips serving a one-match ban and anchormen duo Liam Bridcutt and Eunan O’Kane not fully fit.
Moreover, Pablo Hernandez, a possible emergency option in that position, is also sidelined through injury.
Yet still Monk could find no place in the middle of the park for one of Mowatt, Grimes, Diagouraga or Murphy.
Mowatt and on-loan Grimes join Bridcutt, working his way back to fitness after a three-month absence with a foot injury, on the bench, while experienced pair Diagouraga and Murphy remain frozen out altogether of the first-team picture.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 13, 2016
Monk has instead sprung a shock by choosing a wide attacking player in Stuart Dallas to replace Phillips, in what will either mean the northern Irishman playing in an unfamiliar central role or a new diamond formation loaded with creative players.
In either scenario, the manager has no faith in the abilities of the frozen-out four, who should all be banging on his door tomorrow ready to hand him a slip of paper with a request to transfer to a new club next month.
Mowatt, Grimes, Diagouraga and Murphy could be forgiven for thinking that their chance of making it at Elland Road under Monk has now disappeared.