Leeds United head coach Javi Gracia has addressed concerns that starlet Wilfried Gnonto has been underused since he took charge at Elland Road, claiming that the young Italian “will have chances” to feature before the season ends.
Gnonto’s lack of minutes under Gracia was brought into sharp focus against Leicester City on Tuesday [25 April], a game where the 19-year-old remained an unused sub despite Leeds’ lack of cutting edge – particularly in the match’s second half.
Criticism of the 52-year-old’s decision to replace the injured Luis Sinisterra with Crysencio Summerville, and then the tired Rodrigo with Brenden Aaronson, was not just confined to the supporters within the stadium on Tuesday evening.
Former Whites striker Jermaine Beckford was among those in the world of football punditry questioning Gracia’s decision making on the night.
With Gnonto’s notable omission from the squad being one of the key talking points of this week, the Leeds boss was always going to face questions about it in his pre-match press conference today.
In a response which hinted at a slight frustration with repeatedly being asked about Gnonto, the Spaniard also confirmed that the youngster would have opportunities to show his quality before the Premier League season concludes.
“You ask me about Willy many times and I always say the same, an exceptional player with an amazing character, I have to take the decisions for what is best with the team,” Gracia said (as per Yorkshire Evening Post).
“I am sure in the next games Willy [will] have chances to show how good a player he is.”
With recent confirmation that Sinisterra is set to miss the rest of the run-in through injury, Sunday’s must-win clash with Bournemouth presents Gracia with the perfect opportunity to re-introduce Gnonto to the starting XI.