Leeds’ move for Paul Heckingbottom is a gamble for both parties

Leeds’ move for Paul Heckingbottom is a gamble for both parties

07-Feb-2018 11:05:00 | The Guardian

Heckingbottom can focus on coaching in a way that became impossible at Barnsley but inherits a mishmash of a squad which looks meek beside most of Leeds’ promotion rivals

This season was supposed to be different for Leeds United. But an embarrassing FA Cup exit at Newport County last month proved the beginning of the end for Thomas Christiansen, paving the way for the club’s 10th manager since February 2012. In hiring Paul Heckingbottom, Leeds have landed a coach with a burgeoning reputation, renowned for accelerating the development of younger players, plucking and polishing rough diamonds, and crafting a vibrant and expressive Barnsley team on limited resources.

In between the release of that cringeworthy club crest last month, an alarming dip in form saw Leeds lose sight of the top six and five defeats in seven matches also exposed a spike in ill-discipline, with four players sent off over in Christiansen’s last five matches, the first being Samuel Saíz, the wonderfully gifted Spanish playmaker who serves the penultimate game of a six-match ban this weekend. That spate of red cards – three were awarded in the first half – was also of concern to Andrea Radrizzani, the owner, who stated that reaching the Championship play-offs was the bare minimum expectation this season. It is, however, a feat they have achieved only once since relegation from the Premier League in 2004. Christiansen failed but Heckingbottom could prosper.

Related: Leeds leave Barnsley reeling after appointing Paul Heckingbottom

He is not just a manager but a very good coach as well, who will get the best out of the players at his disposal

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