Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has suggested that Leeds United boss Sam Allardyce should turn to the “exciting players” in his squad – such as Jack Harrison and Italian starlet Wilfried Gnonto – to increase their chances of escaping Premier League relegation this season.
Harrison has been a mainstay in the Leeds XI under the Whites’ recent managers going as far back as Marcelo Bielsa, yet the situation of Gnonto is different.
Signed on transfer Deadline Day last summer when the transfer of Bamba Dieng fell through at the last minute, Gnonto was brought in as what many Leeds fans believed would be a fringe player at best.
Yet, since a brief cameo against Liverpool, in which the Italian youngster proved pivotal in securing a shock 2-1 victory for the Whites – he has exceeded all expectations.
Offering a devastating combination of pace, skill and strength, Gnonto has swiftly become a fan favourite in West Yorkshire.
Such is the extent to which the talents of the 19-year-old are admired, former Leeds head coach Javi Gracia came under considerable criticism for not playing him enough.
When Allardyce took the reins at Elland Road he promised supporters that Gnonto would feature more, and he backed this up by starting him in his first game in charge against current league champions elect, Manchester City.
In his next fixture against Newcastle, however, the Italian international was dropped from Allardyce’s starting line-up and appeared as a second-half substitute.
This was the wrong decision, Wright stated on the Kelly & Wrighty Show – as he also urged Allardyce to start Gnonto and the other “exciting players” he has at his disposal in the last two crucial league matches.
“You need someone to step up. Whether it’s Harrison or Gnonto. Why not start Gnonto and the exciting players so it gets you going? They need some brilliance to stay up.”
It remains to be seen whether Big Sam will heed the former Arsenal man’s advice when his side travel to London to face West Ham this Sunday.