Is this why Jordan Botaka was not in Leeds United's latest match-day squad?

Leeds United

The Leeds United winger was not needed for the evening clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Leeds United’s team selection for the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday evening made for very interesting reading, and not just because Sam Byram was brought back in from the cold after failing to start any of the club’s previous six games.

While the inclusion on the bench of young right-back Lewie Coyle would have no doubt excited Leeds supporters, it was the omission of Jordan Botaka that got plenty talking.

After all, the summer signing had been in each of Leeds’ last seven match-day squads, and while his impact to date has been minimal did he really deserve to be axed altogether?

While it is mere speculation, there could be two very good reasons why the DR Congo international was overlooked: his inability to effectively track back and his lack of an effective final ball.

If you are bringing on a player from the bench you are hoping for them to make an impact, but in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post earlier this month, Leeds manager Steve Evans made it clear Botaka was far from the finished article.

“It’s about final product when you play in a wide area,” Evans told the YEP. “You can do 14 step-overs like Ronaldo does but the thing about Ronaldo is that he picks out the boy at the far stick and the boy sticks the ball in the net.”

The same cannot be said of Botaka, who has plenty of skill but is yet to score or assist since his summer switch to Elland Road.

Then there is the fact that those Leeds stars that played ahead of him, and those who were picked for the bench, know their defensive role and track back accordingly.

Botaka is a wild card, but even wild cards must work for the whole team, and that is something the 22-year-old will have to learn in the months ahead.

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