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Back in the summer, Leeds United fans were left a tad bemused by the club’s decision to let go of former England stopper Rob Green (who signed for Huddersfield Town) and replace him with 27-year olf German stopper Felix Wiedwald.
Given Green’s penchant for a game-changing mistakes, I was a little taken aback by the attitude and the fact that people are now calling for Wiedwald to be dropped. Is the former Werder Bremen stopper really the weak link in a Leeds side which has slipped in recent games?
Green played all 46 of Leeds’ Championship matches last season and by and large was hailed as a success in the No.1 position. The campaign overall was not a success; a strong position at the turn of the year became a 7th placed finish with no opportunity to reach the Premier League via the play-offs.
Opinion is divided on the relative strengths and weaknesses of Wiedwald and Green, though there is very little doubt at all that the current custodian is very much under-fire ahead of the club’s visit of Reading on Saturday afternoon.
When Wiedwald arrived in the summer from Bremen, Green was given the option to stay at the club. However, he was told he would be the second choice. Unwilling to do that, which is understandable, the former QPR and Norwich man fled and Wiedwald was installed between the sticks.
Although there are little firm stats which back the opinion up, the general feeling among fans is that Wiedwald has struggled to replace Green adequately and some are demanding that Andy Lonergan replaces him against the Royals.
I can’t help thinking such a move would be counterproductive in the longer term, with Wiedwald as yet having not had much time to prove himself in England. After all, given all his mistakes in the past, you could argue Green had years worth of chances before being the confirmed as the No.1 at Leeds, couldn’t you?
The club have had a good start to the season overall, despite a slip in the last few games, which has seen them fall to fifth, and Wiedwald played his full part in that. Manager Thomas Christiansen has a clear idea of how he wants to play and it’s obvious that he believes he needs Wiedwald to be able to achieve it, so who are we to undermine him?
October is far too early to say that a ‘keeper brought from Germany is not good enough, especially when his predecessor was not exactly world class. I believe he’ll get more chances, and I believe he will ultimately succeed.