Opinion: Leeds United have an Ezgjan Alioski replacement ready to go

Brian Heffernan April 2, 2021
Opinion: Leeds United have an Ezgjan Alioski replacement ready to go
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

With concerns over Ezgjan Alioski’s contract as it runs down, Leif Davis is looking like a perfect full-back option for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

Alioski’s contract is set to expire in June but Leeds United don’t need to panic-buy a replacement and can confidently look to their academy if the full-back leaves.

Davis is mainly playing his football for the U23s and has never had a loan spell away from the club.

The 21-year-old has also played twice in the Premier League this season but those outings, admittedly against tough opposition, only total a matter of minutes.

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Despite that, the full-back has still managed to average a better passing accuracy on WhoScored than Alioski.

The Englishman averages an accuracy of 89.5%, which compares with the Macedonian’s 80.4% in Premier League outings.

Davis has also faced senior opposition in the EFL Cup, FA Cup and EFL Trophy this season.

Facing Barrow, Blackpool, Crawley and Hull City in those cup contests were somewhat easier – on paper – than the Manchester City and United sides he faced in the league.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

Davis more disciplined than Alioski

In his 17 outings across five competitions this season, Davis has only been booked once.

The 29-year-old Alioski has been booked five times in 21 starts for Leeds this season.

That level of maturity from such a young defender is a good sign for Davis’ future under Bielsa.

If the 21-year-old isn’t allowed to step up at Elland Road next season, it’s about time Davis was sent out on loan to gain valuable experience.

Perhaps a stint at a top-half Championship side would do his development the power of good?

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Brian Heffernan is head of recruitment at Horsham FC. He has also scouted for League Two and Danish clubs and worked freelance in the Russian Premier League. Brian’s work includes trialling and signing players and creating detailed opposition dossiers for first-team managers. He’s also a sports journalist specialising in football.