'The shirt is his' - Heckingbottom reveals early team news for Leeds v Sheffield Wednesday clash
Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that the number one jersey belongs to Bailey Peacock-Farrell following his side’s 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday in the Championship, but added one proviso: “as it stands.”
The 21-year-old took the place of Felix Wiedwald following Leeds’ poor defeat away against Middlesbrough and was handed the gloves against Wolves, where he impressed despite one mistake.
And against Reading, he was given another opportunity to show the travelling support he was an able stand-in.
A trio of saves keeping out Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, one preventing Mo Barrow and another from Mo Evans kept Leeds in the tie at 2-0, showed Heckingbottom was right to give him the chance.
And speaking after the match, as quoted in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Heckingbottom revealed his stance on the keeper and said: “The shirt is his as it stands, but I’d want him to know that he’s got to earn and keep his place.
“He’s got goalkeepers breathing down his neck, but the players know I’m fair with that and he’s in the driving seat.
“He was better than he was against Wolves.
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“I was really pleased with him on the pitch against Wolves because his demeanour impressed me.
“I thought he looked confident. If I’m critical he should have stayed at home for the third goal (in the defeat to Wolves), which he knows, but he’d already made some big saves before that.
“Today he made saves when he had to make saves. His kicking was good and his handling was good.”
Football Insider verdict:
Wiewald between the sticks just isn’t working right now. The German doesn’t seem to handle pressure very well and a spell away from the limelight would probably do him good. At 21, Peacock-Farrell is very inexperienced but has been in the Whites academy since 2013 so understands what it means to represent the Yorkshire outfit. He will need time, and Heckingbottom’s comments show that he’s going to have to carry on earning the right to be given an extended run in the side. With nothing to play for between now and the end of the season though, it surely makes sense to see if he can prove he’s good enough to be the number one next season. Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan won’t be.
In other Leeds United news, Whites scout drools over striker on Twitter who was at the centre of bizarre Jan transfer mystery.