By Russell Edge

24th Apr, 2018 | 8:29am

Senior figure makes bizarre claim over reason Leeds summer signing has flopped

Werder Bremen goalkeeping coach Christian Vander has claimed that Leeds United goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald has flopped at the club because of the change of manager.

The German shot stopper arrived at Elland Road last summer from the Bundesliga side but despite a bright start to his career saw a number of high-profile errors lead to him falling out of the starting XI under Thomas Christiansen, before being reinstated ahead of Andy Lonergan.

He retained his place in the immediate aftermath of the Danish manager’s sacking but the 28-year-old eventually lost his place to youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell, and has been completely axed from the senior side for the last six games, being dubbed a flop by fans.

Now Vander has bizarrely claimed that it was Paul Heckingbottom’s arrival which saw a downturn in his performances, despite the fact he had already been axed from the starting line up once already under Christiansen.

He told Deich Stube: “Felix could have stayed (at Bremen). He wanted to have the absolute number one status for himself and has therefore gone.

“He started the season well (at Leeds). Then the change of manager, and (his form is) a bit far away, broken.”

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Football Insider verdict

Whatever Vander might claim about Wiedwald’s form before and after Heckingbottom’s arrival, it was plain as day to everyone that he was simply not good enough between the sticks to keep his place. Christiansen did the right thing by axing him earlier on but Lonergan hardly inspired confidence either, meaning the German was handed a reprieve. Maybe if Peacock-Farrell had been handed his chance then, Christiansen might have lasted a bit longer at Elland Road – but it was Heckingbottom who is reaping the rewards of the youngster’s displays after taking the risk with him.

In other Leeds United news, the club must launch a free swoop for a Championship veteran set for the exit door.

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