Stats: Should Stephen Warnock have been frozen out at Leeds?

Don Revie Statue

Stephen Warnock lost his place in the Leeds United first-team - but did he deserve it.

Reports claimed that experienced defender Warnock had been dropped from the Whites plans due to interference from President Massimo Cellino.

The 32-year-old had been an ever present in the side until after the 2-0 loss to Brentford, the game which happened to be Darko Milanic’s first as head coach of the club.

It was reported that Warnock had made an official complaint to the PFA, citing ‘interference from Cellino’ as his cause, although that has been refuted, with the pair set for showdown talks in the near future.

Whilst Warnock could have simply been dropped for a string of poor performances, with starting line-ups changing on a week-to-week basis, he has been one of United’s strongest individuals this season, and his performances put him as one of the best left-backs in the Championship.

  ConcededInterceptionsAerials WonBlocksTackles WonClearancesMins Played
Stephen Warnock 12 33 12 2 19 32 761
Championship Average 6.6 6.9 9.8 1.7 7.0 13.8 483.8

The former Liverpool and England man is higher than the Championship average in every area of defensive play, despite conceding 12 goals in nine games. He is vastly talented at winning aerial duels and completing interceptions, and he completes almost three times as many tackles than the average. His experience has been key in helping Leeds transition from the end of last season into the new Massimo Cellino era, and he was often the only player to give his all for the Whites during the last campaign.

His desire to never give up in the aim of victory is praised by the majority of Leeds fans, with Warnock representing the idealised player formed in their successes in the 1970’s, but he has the talent to back up his place in the team as well.

The men who replaced Warnock at left-back for the last two fixtures, Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper, have shown nothing this season that suggests they have a starting place ahead of the 32-year-old, with them falling short in comparison to the fan favourite.

  ConcededInterceptionsAerials WonBlocksTackles WonClearancesMins Played
Liam Cooper 4 7 8 2 10 22 312
Gaetano Berardi 3 11 5 2 10 15 343

In fact, Warnock has been so impressive, that he is ranked as one of the top five Championship left-backs by WhoScored, as well as being United’s second best player this season.

As an onlooker, it is impossible to know whether off-field issues caused the removal of Warnock from the first-team set-up at Elland Road, but, going by how impressive Warnock has performed this season, he may have a real reason to claim that Massimo Cellino is personally interfering with his footballing career.

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