Leeds United head coach Javi Gracia has labelled defender Rasmus Kristensen as an “example” for all the players at the club – despite the fact that he is struggling to make the Leeds XI in recent times.
Kristensen – a Danish international – was signed from RB Salzburg last summer under the reign of former head coach Jesse Marsch.
In the eyes of many, he was brought in as an upgrade on Whites right-back Luke Ayling, and was advertised as a roving, no-nonsense full-back who had potential cult hero status written all over him.
But he has recently been sidelined by Ayling, whose impressive performances have seen him secure a constant position on the right side of the Leeds defence.
Kristensen’s attitude remains positive despite this, says Gracia, who claims that the priority for the 25-year-old is the overall success of the team.
“If you don’t play what you want, you have to be disappointed but at the same time his attitude is an example for all the players. Always smiling, trying to help the team,” Gracia said (as per Yorkshire Evening Post).
“When we play against Fulham and we didn’t have a centre-back, he was the first to offer, to tell me ‘I have to play there, I only have one target, to help the team’.”
Kristensen “an example” for all at Leeds
You have to feel for Kristensen, who was signed under the belief that he would be a mainstay of the Whites’ defensive line but has been usurped by the player he was brought in to replace.
Moreover, Marsch – who the Dane was close to after their time together at Salzburg – is no longer at Elland Road after being replaced by Gracia.
This is a frustrating situation for any player, especially when it results in you also losing your position in an international set-up: as Kristensen has lost his spot in the Denmark squad recently.
It is great to see that he isn’t letting these frustrations get to him – and is entirely focused on ensuring that Leeds stay in the Premier League this season.
Sometimes, the impact a player can have off the pitch is just as important as the role they play on it, and that could very well prove to be the case here.