The Massimo Cellino decision that shows Leeds United are moving in the right direction

Leeds United

Choosing to hire an English sporting director at Leeds could prove to be a masterstroke by Massimo Cellino.

Cellino held a press conference last week, and quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, he confirmed that he wanted Leeds to hire a head of recruitment who was English, with Nicola Salerno holding that post this term.

“Here we need a head of recruitment who comes from England, knows the players, everything,” Cellino said. “He can advise us. Salerno unfortunately is Italian.”

Despite all the madness that ensured in the press conference, these few lines suggested a progression from Cellino, and an understanding of English football that could move Leeds forward, and back into the Premier League.

The big example of a club using the same set-up as Leeds is Watford, who finally secured a return to the top flight for the first time since 2007 this season.

Three years have passed since the Pozzo family took charge of the club, and they finally completed their task to secure passage through automatic promotion - although they did miss out on the Championship title on the last day.

However, it has not all been plain sailing, and last season followed a similar progression as the Whites have seen this term.

They struggled due to bad recruitment and a seemingly poor understanding of English football, and it resulted in the loss of Gianfranco Zola as manager, and a poor start to this season, before Slavisa Jokanovic steadied the ship.

It is suggested that Jokanovic is the man who fixed all the problems at Vicarage Road, and led them to the Premier League, but there is one appointment that went under the radar - but that should five Leeds much hope for their future.

Luke Dowling arrived in Hertfordshire, replacing Gianluca Nani as director of football, the same role that Cellino wants to fill with an Englishman to replace Salerno.

He made sure the Hornets recruited correct - signing the likes of Ben Watson from Wigan and Matthew Connolly on loan from Cardiff - bringing in players who have won promotion from the division.

This was a big change from Nani, who signed players with no experience of English football, to only realise they were not suited to the Championship.

This is the problem that Leeds have suffered from this term, and Cellino appears to have learnt from both his own, and Watford’s mistakes heading into the new season.

If he can find a good director of football who understands the rigours of the Championship, it may just start to be an era of success for the former English giants.

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