Leeds United are expected to fight for the direct promotion spot this season. One of few players who Bielsa had signed permanently was Barry Douglas. The attacking left-back arrived from Wolves last summer, and he seemed like a bargain signing for £3m as he had played a stellar role for the West Midlands club to get them to the Premier League.
Douglas even impressed for the Whites initially. However, injuries troubled him on occasions, and Bielsa went on to use Ezgjan Alioski as the fullback. The Macedonian winger was often wasteful in the final third while playing as a winger but his work rate and tenacity made him an ideal option as a fullback. This season again, Douglas seemed to have lost his place as Alioski appears to be the first choice left-back option.
Whelan on Barry Douglas
Ex Leeds United striker Noel Whelan speaking to Football Insider said that the fullback might be running out of time. Whelan said, “Barry Douglas is running out of time at Leeds, but it’s not too late. It’s been stop-start for him and for somebody of his quality to be on the bench is disappointing. We know Douglas is a great full-back, we saw that Wolves. It’s up to him to win back his place and make it impossible to leave him out.”
When the Scotsman came in last season, everyone must have felt that Douglas will be a no brainer in United’s eleven whenever he is fit. However, things have changed now as he has started just three games in the Championship so far. Whelan though believes that Douglas can turn things around the way Moussa Sissoko did at Tottenham after being on the fringes of the squad.
Areas Of Improvement For Barry Douglas
Alioski’s tremendous work rate and sheer will power to slog it out for the full 90 minutes are probably one of the primary reasons why Bielsa has gone in with him at left-back of late. Douglas has been below par with his attacking contributions as well which has harmed his chances at Elland Road.
However, as Whelan mentioned, we too think that Douglas can still earn his place back as Alioski hasn’t done enough to cement his place. Bielsa demands a certain standard of work rate on the pitch from his players, and if Douglas can provide that along with improving with his final delivery then we can see him becoming the first choice.