Emile Heskey doubts that Tyler Roberts will have a part to play going forward at Leeds United, as Marcelo Bielsa looks to build on an impressive Premier League campaign, while speaking exclusively to HITC.
As Heskey himself says, Leeds find themselves wedged between a rock and a hard place with just two months of the season left.
If the Yorkshire giants are to thrive where Sheffield United failed and avoid that dreaded second-season syndrome, there is no place for sentimentality.
The Athletic claims that Leeds are planning to make around five fresh signings during the summer transfer window. And, if a handful of new faces are destined to arrive at Elland Road, that surely means others must depart.
“This is the problem you have when coming into the Premier League. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you stick with the players who brought you up, knowing that they may be Championship players?” former England international Heskey poses.
“Some might step up to the plate but some others might not be able to.
“I think the next step is probably getting rid of, not ‘dead wood’, but what I would say isn’t quite up to scratch to what you feel you are or where you think you’re going.
“They are great players who got you to where you are – but are they going to take you to the next level? You need to make that decision fairly quickly. Leeds have done fantastic, they excite you when you’re watching them play but you need results, to stay in the league, and to take that next step up and be better.”
If Leeds really are going to wield the axe, then Roberts may be one of the first on the chopping block.
A relentless series of injuries have prevented the former West Brom youngster from ever putting together a run of games at Elland Road, while confusion reigns about his best position.
“The next step is possibly getting rid of your Tyler Roberts’. He’s only 22 so he’s still a young player – and he’s a Welsh international,” Heskey adds of a forward who has not scored a goal since the 4-0 trouncing of Hull City in February 2020.
“But this is the progression they’re going to be looking at. Is Tyler Roberts part of that? Probably not, at this moment in time. This is not saying he’s not a good player, this is just saying, with the evolution of Leeds, they want to be pushing on to the next level.”