Over the last 5 seasons we’ve had some great players and some not so great players *insert Billy Paynter joke here* but who have been the cream of the crop?
10.Rudy Austin,31 apps,2 goals,£200k-SK Brann
Rudy Austin kicks off the list, Rudy has demonstrated his combative style since joining Leeds in the summer of 2012. He started his Leeds career off very impressively but lost his way a bit in the middle of the season under Neil Warnock but ever since Brian McDermott was appointed manager,Rudy has looked like the player we all saw at the start of last season and the newly appointed captain will no doubt have a key part to play in this season and many seasons to come and is already a real cult hero. At £200k Rudy was an absolute steal, Arguably the only good bit of business Neil Warnock did at Leeds.Some may argue that he shouldn’t be on this list as his contribution to Leeds so far has been modest but for me he’s one of the most talented midfielders we’ve had in a long time and therefore deserves his place.
9.Ross McCormack,112 apps,32 goals,£200k-Cardiff
Since his £200,000 move to Leeds from Cardiff, Ross has cemented himself as a cult hero with the Leeds faithful.After a tricky 1st season where he was playing 2nd fiddle to the likes of Becchio,Gradel and Snoddy.It was only in Ross’ 2nd season that he proved how valuable an asset he was to Leeds,Ross scored 19 goals and finished 2nd to Rickie Lambert in the top goalscoring charts.His 3rd season was largely hampered with injury hence why he only managed to get on the score sheet 7 times,yet he still produced moments of magic against spurs in the cup and Derby,in Warnock’s last game in charge.Now in his fourth season at Leeds,Ross is largely tipped to be Leeds’ most influential player and the talisman once again.Personally I think Ross thoroughly deserves his place on this list as he has not only shown what an intelligent footballer he is, he has also shown just how much he loves playing for our great club.
8.Bradley Johnson,122 apps,16 goals,£250k-Northampton
Bradley signed for Leeds from Northampton for a fee of £250,000 back in 2008 and was a bit part player under Garry McAlister and also due to the fine form of Fabain Delph.It was only really until Simon Grayson was appointed that Bradley was a regular but under Grayson he was instrumental in the clubs promotion and cup campaign,which included taking the scalp of Man Utd and earning a replay against Spurs,Bradley wasn’t shy of shooting from range and he scored some absolute worldies whilst in the white of Leeds, Johnson was very good technically and was a midfield dynamo.His departure to Norwich on a free transfer in 2011 left a bitter taste in the mouth but nonetheless we should never forget his undoubted quality and his importance to Leeds whilst he was at Elland Road,He was sorely missed in recent seasons gone by and is still yet to be fully replaced.He thoroughly deserves to be on this list because of his influence during his years at Elland Road.
7.Sam Byram,44 apps,3 goals,Trainee
Sam Byram this time last year was a virtual unknown but after Neil Warnock put him in the first team against Shrewsbury for his debut,Sam never looked back and was a regular going on to make 44 first team appearances.His impressive composure and attacking ability caught many eyes and is reportedly being tracked by Man City,Everton and Liverpool. Sam scooped all the end of year player awards and is by far our most exciting academy talent since fabian delph.When Sam recovers from his hip injury he will prove to be a massive asset for Brian McDermott and Leeds United.Some will be surprised at how high Sam is on this list but for me this boy is a special,special player and if in 5 years time when similar lists are published I think he’ll be number 1 on every single one.
6.Luciano Becchio,221 apps,87 goals,free-Unnatached
Becchio signed for Leeds after impressing on trial in 2008, he impressed hugely during his first season at Elland Road and went on to score 19 goals in his debut season forging a lethal partnership with Jermaine Beckford. His 2nd season was equally as impressive as he went onto score 17 goals and helped fire Leeds to promotion to the championship.Becchio conitinued his wonderful form for Leeds in the championship,going onto score 20 goals and help fill the void that Jermaine Beckford left.The following season was a little disappointing for Becchio’s standards, only scoring 11 goals in the 2011-12 season.Becchio’s 5th and final season at Leeds was arguably his most impressive as he scored 19 goals in half a season before his controversial swap deal for Steve Morison in January to Norwich.A leeds icon in my eyes,Luciano gave everything whilst in a Leeds shirt and his goalscoring record in a Leeds shirt is outstanding,his place is thoroughly deserved on this list.
5.Fabian Delph,51 apps,6 goals,Trainee
Delph shot to prominence in the 2008-9 season and hugely impressed, he quickly attracted the interest of top clubs such as Arsenal and Man Utd.His combative and energetic style of play was hugely influential in the Leeds midfield and quickly became the clubs key asset.Unfortunatley Delph and his team mates could only get the play off Semi Finals, Delph won the league 1 young player of the year award and was also nominated for the league 1 player of the year award, he subsequently jumped ship and signed for Aston Villa in a £6m move in the summer of 2009.Deph’s carrer since then has somewhat stalled and he even came back to Leeds on a short-term loan deal in 2012.I think the one season we had of Delph was outstanding and for me the ability that Delph possess is too great to be overlooked for the top 5.
5.Jonny Howson,225apps,28 goals,Trainee
The boyhood Leeds fan was an absolute stalwart in the Leeds United midfield for a number of seasons, his cultured style of play was refreshing and his passing ability was outstanding.Jonny made his breakthrough in the 2007-8 season and was voted the clubs young player of the season.The 2008-9 season was a little bit more difficult for Howson as he struggled to find his form but the 2009-10 season was a lot more succesful for Jonny as he was appointed vicecapatain and formed a solid partnership with Michael Doyle in Leeds’ promotion campaign, his most memorable moments of that season were for sure his excellent 50-yard pass to Jermaine Beckford in that 1-0 fa cup tie against Man utd and of course the opening goal against Bristol Rovers in the clubs promotion game against Bristol Rovers.Howson remained an integral part of the first team as Leeds returned to the Championship as he helped lead Leeds to a 7th place finish in the league,scoring 11 goals in the process and picking up the clubs young player of the season award.In the summer of 2011, Howson was made permanent club captain but unfortunately saw his long term midfield partners Bradley Johnson and Neil kilkenny leave the club.Howson himself left the club in the January window to Norwich,much to the annoyance of the Leeds fans.Howson for me was an excellent,well cultured,goalscoring midfielder during his time at Leeds and £2m for howson was an absolute farce,he completely deserves his place in the top 5 and was unlucky to miss out on the top 3.
3.Jermaine Beckford,152apps 85 goals,£50k-Wealdstone
Beckford signed for Leeds from Wealdstone after scoring 35 goals in 40 appearances for the non league side,he made his debut in 2006 and went on loan spells to Carlisle and Scunthorpe.Beckford became a regular in the Leeds side in 2008 and impressed hugely when he netted 20 goals in 47 appearances, the following 2008-9 season was even more impressive as Beckford amassed a massive 34 goals in just 42 appearances.His 5th and final season was equally impressive with Beckford managing to find the net 31 times in 52 games,his final season ended in promotion to the championship,in which he sealed with the second goal in the 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers.During his time Beckford was an absolute goal scoring machine,his explosive pace and lethal finishing made him one of the best players to wear the famous white shirt in the last 5 years.
2.Max Gradel,72 apps,24 goals,£250k-Leicester City
The Ivorian International initially signed for Leeds on loan in 2009 but in January 2010 he signed a permanent deal from Leicester.Gradel usually played out wide during his time at Elland Road and was extremely effective coming in off the wing.Gradel helped Leeds gain promotion to the championship in his first season,scoring 3 goals in 18 appearances in the process.Although it was his 2nd season when Gradel really showed his quality as he inspired Leeds to a 7th place finish in the Championship,Gradel himself helped himself to 18 goals from the wing in the same season and as a result of this won the clubs player of the year award.Gradel naturally attracted much interest from clubs all over europe and was strongly linked with a move to the Premier League,Gradel eventually joined St Etienne for a fee believed to be around £2.5m.Gradel during his time at Leeds was an absolute joy to watch thanks to his explosive pace and tricky dribbling .Gradel was one of those players who whenever he picked the ball up in the opposition half you would sit on the edge of your seat.Max Gradel is for sure one of the most talented players we’ve had in the last 5 years.
1.Robert Snodgrass,168 apps,35 goals,£50k-Livingston
Of course there is only 1 man left to include in this list and what man better to finish it off than Robert Snodgrass? Snoddy who was signed for a mere £50,000 in 2008 from Scottish side Livingston was an instant hit at Leeds as he scored 11 goals and assisted 19 from the wing,Snoddy’s 2nd season was even better as he helped fire Leeds to the Championship and was voted in the PFA League 1 team of the year after scoring 10 goals and assisting 14.Snoddy continued to impress during his 3rd season at Leeds,scoring 7 goals from the wing in the 2010-11 season.Although it was Snoddy’s 4th and final season which was arguably his most impressive,after a number of high-profile exits Snoddy was appointed as the new club captain.His form throughout the 2011-12 season was outstanding and he managed to find the back of the net 13 times and supply 14 goals.Unfortunatley in the summer of 2012 Snoddy was sold to Norwich City for a cut price £3m.For me Snoddy technically is the most gifted player on this list, whilst not having the explosive pace of a Max Gradel or Jermaine Beckford he consistently managed to beat a man using his excellent dribbling skills and pinpoint crossing,Snoddy also possesses a rocket shot and for a winger he has an outstanding goal scoring record.He arguably has also been the most succesful player off this list as he was one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League last season.For me Snoddy deserves to top this list because of his outstanding technical ability and fantastic influence on the team during his time at Elland Road.
I hope you enjoy the article and feel free to comment on whether you agree or disagree with this list.