Danny Mills has told LS11 that he would be a little concerned about Leeds continuing to use Gjanni Alioski at left-back if they are promoted to the Premier League, and compared the Macedonian with James Milner.
After a sensational first month of the season, Alioski was heavily criticised for his performances on the wing. His effort was rarely questioned, but his end product caused a lot of frustration and his apparent inability to stay onside became something of a running joke amongst the fans.
However, he has been a revelation at left-back and is now well on his way to securing cult-hero status. Remarkably, he has scored four goals and provides four assists in the 11 Championship games that he has started in the role, and his goal to round off the 4-0 win against West Brom encapsulated why he has been so influential as he found himself in the six-yard box to finish off a move that had developed down the right flank.
Alioski now has to be considered one of the first names on Marcelo Bielsa's teamsheet. But Mills suggested that he would have doubts about the 27-year-old if Leeds manage to get themselves promoted to the Premier League.
"I think the way that Leeds play, on the front foot, especially at Elland Road, you can get away with it to a certain extent," he told LS11. "If you get promoted, I'd be a little concerned with him in that position. Defensively, you probably need a bit more nous to deal with higher quality players week-in, week-out.
"I think he's done a great job at the moment. I think it has a shelf-life, a little bit like James Milner at Liverpool. He did brilliantly at left-back for a while, but it's not really his position. If you want to kick on, you've got to get a proper player. You can get away with it to a certain extent, but when you want to go to the next level, you need specific people in those positions."
Alioski may be playing some of his best football in an attacking sense, but it would be unfair to overlook how good he has been defensively in recent weeks. He is not afraid to get stuck into challenges and he has formed an excellent understanding with the likes of Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson alongside him and with Jack Harrison further up the line.
There may be a lot of questions to answer about several members of the squad if Leeds do get promoted. But given how Alioski has stepped up in the role, perhaps it would be foolish to suggest that he would not be able to surprise everyone once again if given a chance in the top flight.
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