Opinion

Opinion: Despite uplift of Leeds United injury news, player’s long-term Elland Road prospects in real doubt

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It would probably be something of an understatement to say that things have not gone as Adam Forshaw would have wanted them to in the past 18 months or so.

The midfielder’s last appearance for Leeds came in a 1-0 defeat at Charlton all the way back in September 2019, with a long-running hip injury that has required some serious and strenuous work having kept him out since then.

Now however, it seems as though that long road back could soon be becoming to an end for Forshaw.

After so many months away, Forshaw made his return to action in a behind-closed-doors friendly with York earlier this week, and the midfielder is now working his way back to action with the club’s Under 23’s.

That is of course, a huge boost for Forshaw who will have been waiting so long for a moment such as this. But despite that, it is hard not to feel that this does bring his long-term Leeds United future into focus, something which might not be quite so encouraging.

Playing Catch-up

It is worth remembering that Leeds United have come a long way since Forshaw last played a game for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

In that time, the Whites have been crowned Championship title-winners, and are now making all sorts of waves with their performances in the Premier League this season.

As a result, with Leeds surely keen to build on that, there will have to be questions asked about where Forshaw fits into their plans.

Having been out of the game for so long, there are inevitably going to be questions about whether Forshaw will be able to cope with the intensity and pace played at by Bielsa’s side.

That is something that may not be easy for Forshaw, given any player who has been out of the game for as long as he has is going to take some time to get up to match fitness and sharpness.

There is also the fact that Forshaw is likely to face the unenviable task of having to usurp Kalvin Phillips at the heart of Leeds’ midfield if he is to enjoy regular game time.

Given the form of Phillips so far this season, that is going to be far from easy, and with recent reports suggesting Leeds are considering bringing in cover for the England international in the summer transfer window, Forshaw could be some way down the pecking order at Elland Road by the start of next season.

Time for a change?

It is also worth noting that with Forshaw’s current Leeds contract set to expire at the end of next season, this summer could be there last chance to receive a fee for the 29-year-old.

That is something that, if Forshaw is indeed to find himself down the pecking order at Elland Road, could make sense for the club to try and take advantage of by moving him on.

For Forshaw himself, that may not be the worst idea either, given that after so long being unable to play, he is not going to want to be stuck on the sidelines again for selection reasons.

Indeed, given the pedigree he possesses, there is also likely to be a number of clubs who would be willing to give Forshaw those opportunities elsewhere.

It seems therefore, that as far as he has come in his recovery with Leeds, now could be the time for Forshaw to look for a new destination to take the next step on his return to return to action, which may now arguably be in the best interests of all concerned.

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UCLan Sports Journalism graduate. Have been working for Leeds All Over since summer 2020, and can only be found writing on Football League World.