Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has shown no sympathy to midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi as it looks like he might miss out on the 2018 World Cup finals.
And his admission about the lack of agreement in place over Ideguchi’s playing time at sister club Cultural Leonesa has to seriously bring into question the arrangement between the two clubs.
Who is it actually benefitting?
In this instance it’s not Leeds and it’s certainly not the player.
The 21-year-old midfielder was bought from Gamba Osaka in January and then loaned straight out to Cultural Leonesa in Spain, in a deal that had already baffled the Leeds fans.
And it got worse for Ideguchi as he struggled to make the team, notching up just five appearances totalling 107 minutes, with just one start.
Without game time it appears that Ideguchi will be axed from Japan’s squad for the World Cup finals, with manager Vahid Halilhodzic saying, “They haven’t been chosen this time, and if things continue the way they are, there is a chance that they won’t be chosen for the World Cup.”
Ideguchi had just broken through into the Japan squad in 2017, playing the last 11 games for his country including the last three World Cup qualifiers.
Now it looks like the Leeds move could have seriously derailed his international career.
And Heckingbottom has said that it’s up to Ideguchi to prove himself, admitting that there was no stipulation made with Cultural Leonesa about game time.
“At some clubs there’s stipulations where you can, not force a club to play them, but heavily weight it in your favour,” said Heckingbottom in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“There’s plus’ and minus’ for that. My experience is if there was any such agreement with our player and that was in place, what are they really learning? Because they know they’re going to be getting away with all the bad habits.”
There might well be pluses and minuses in such a stipulation, but without it there just seems to be minuses for Leeds.
They’ll be getting a seriously devalued player, instead of a player on the up and potentially with an inflated price and masses of confidence after playing for his country at the World Cup finals in Russia.
Questions must be asked and fans must be given the answers to the Cultural Leonesa problem.
In other Leeds news, ‘Killed the season for me’ – Orta signing admits big problems in first year at Leeds