A season of two halves, literally. A season of two keepers, literally. Let’s have a look at how Leeds’ shot stoppers got on this season:
It’s time for some revisionism of Bailey’s season. 29 games across all competitions at the age of just 22 in the Championship is mightily impressive. Though there are obvious limitations to the Northern Ireland #1’s game at the moment, it has to be remembered that most goalkeepers enter their apex in their late 20s and early 30s. With more games, Bailey will only get better. That isn’t to say he should be starting for Leeds immediately, but to have such high expectations of a young player is wrong and potentially damaging.
Bailey often played at a level above his age, the maturity he showed saving the penalty in the final minute against Reading at Elland Road to ensure a 1-0 victory for Leeds was astounding. There were the lowlights too, however, notably the 4-1 loss away at West Brom were in a few circumstances BPF could certainly have done better and such mistakes reverberated around the whole defence and led to a catastrophic defensive display all over for Leeds.
All things considered, Bailey does have a future at Leeds, it is just not immediate.
Ah yes, Leeds United’s ‘El Gato’ in the words of Salim Lamrani. Why must he be so crazy? A 3 times Champions League winner arriving at Elland Road was somewhat of a coup for Leeds in January. It’s fair to say his time at Leeds can be summed up in one word: frustration. Again, it’s obvious the quality is there. He can make the saves. Look at the Rotherham game, the flying save to deny a long range effort was absolutely spectacular. But for every Rotherham game, there was your sending off against Sheffield United, the yellow card and goal at Ipswich and of course the first-half error in the play-off against Derby.
In the Championship and with a defence with obviously a lot less quality than at Real Madrid, Kiko must learn that the risks carry greater consequences. This will take time and that’s why I’m prepared to give him a chance again this year. Frantically coming out the box has cost us dearly this season and it has firmly brought nerves to a problem that Leeds thought was firmly solved. Though this is training ground stuff and Leeds will have to ensure that the risks are firmly drilled out of Kiko’s game come August.
One game, one clean sheet. The numbers don’t lie…