Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Kevin Phillips Backs Leeds United Defender To Stay At Elland Road: A Beneficial Move For The Club?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

During an interview with Football Insider, Kevin Phillips has backed Gaetano Berardi to remain at Leeds United. He believes that staying at Elland Road will be the first priority for the defender, especially if Leeds United qualify for the Premier League.

Phillips told Football Insider, “He might have the promise of more game time at another club, but you want to be in the Premier League. Especially if you had been at Leeds for a long time. If the offer suits him and there is the opportunity to play in the Premier League I am sure he will opt for that.”

Gaetano Berardi’s story so far

Berardi is currently one of the longest-serving players in the Leeds United setup, having arrived at Elland Road back in 2014. Since then, he has featured in 150 competitive appearances for the Whites, although he hasn’t exactly been able to establish himself as a regular first-team member of the club.

Especially in the ongoing campaign, Berardi has found it challenging to outshine the defensive combination of Liam Cooper and Ben White that has worked out so well for Leeds. The Championship league leaders boast the best defensive record in the competition, with White, in particular, emerging as a rising star.

As a result, Berardi has mustered under 1,000 minutes of league football this season. He has been only used as a back-up for the duo of White and Cooper. And with his contract running out at the end of the season, the Swiss is indeed facing an uncertain future at the club.

Kevin Phillips has backed Gaetano Berardi to remain at Leeds - The right option for the defender?
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Gaetano Berardi of Leeds United stretches for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Cambridge United and Leeds United at Cambs Glass Stadium on January 9, 2017, in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Should Leeds United extend Berardi’s contract this summer?

Keeping hold of Berardi could be a wise decision from Marcelo Bielsa for multiple reasons. Leeds United are in desperate need of reinforcements in the defensive department due to the lack of depth in the side.

White is already set to return to Brighton & Hove Albion, following the end of his loan spell. Although Leeds will try to sign the 22-year-old permanently, missing out on him will leave Bielsa with only two defensive options in Cooper and Berardi. Hence, the further departure of the latter could potentially create an emergency in the defensive unit.

Another critical factor that should be considered is Berardi’s experience. As mentioned earlier, he is one of the longest-serving members for the club. That experience, composure and determination should be useful for the Yorkshire outfit, especially in the demanding nature of the Premier League.

Although Berardi is unlikely to establish himself as a first-choice defender, he can provide the much-needed depth as the Whites look to undergo a potential overhaul in the backline this summer.

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