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Make or break: Evans must start Antenucci or let him leave

Reports suggest the Italian is considering his Leeds future - with good reason.

According to reports in Italy, Mirco Antenucci is considering leaving Leeds United, with clubs in his homeland interested in the 31-year-old's signature.

Antenucci is out of contract in the summer and has found himself short of regular starts ever since his arrival at Elland Road.

Recently, he hasn't been a mainstay in Steve Evans' starting XI and the Leeds boss needs to make a choice. Antenucci is a popular forward and Leeds fans may well want him to stay.

He was the Yorkshire club's top scorer last season and possesses undoubted quality. But, if Evans wants him to stay, he has to start playing the experienced striker more often.

 2014-16 GoalsAppearancesMinutes Played
Mirco Antenucci 15 58 3,481
Alex Mowatt 11 58 4,244
Chris Wood 8 23 1,996
Sam Byram 6 60 4,632
Souleymane Doukara 5 36 1,684
Billy Sharp 5 33 1,629

As Opta stats show, no Leeds player has scored more Championship goals over the past season and a half than Antenucci.

That said, goals haven't exactly been United's speciality. Alex Mowatt is only four behind from midfield, while Chris Wood - for all the criticism he has received - is on course to smash Antenucci's total of 10 league goals set last term.

The simple truth is there's no point keeping the Italian unless he's going to be played. Evans recently started Souleymane Doukara instead of the Italian in Wood's absence, playing him on his own up top (a move that didn't pay off).

Uwe Rosler and Evans have both heaped praise on the 31-year-old this season but neither have used him all that often. As the Leeds coach no doubt knows, whether the striker fits into United's system or not, it's simply a matter of respecting Antenucci.

He's a good player who deserves games. Evans must give him those games - or let him leave Elland Road.

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