Playing in the Premier League was a “dream” for Leeds United forward Wilfried Gnonto, one which his move to the Yorkshire club from FC Zurich on deadline day last summer helped him achieve.
Gnonto has been something of a revelation for the Whites since signing, being the sole provider of a moment of inspiration on the pitch multiple times when it was desperately needed. His pacey, skilful play – combined with a surprising strength for his diminutive size – is a nightmare for defenders.
Joining the club for a fee in the region of €4m, there is an argument to be made that he is one of Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta’s best signings.
The Italian youngster has scored 4 and assisted 1 in all competitions so far this season. Impressive statistics for a 19-year-old thrust into a team currently battling relegation.
Even more impressive is Gnonto’s attitude, with his humility and positivity often being praised by his teammates.
An interview with BBC Football Focus released today [10 March] only reinforced this impression, as the beaming Gnonto reflected on his life in West Yorkshire:
“Yeah, I am [happy]. This was a dream of mine. Just to have the chance to play in these big stadiums. Old Trafford, Elland Road, Anfield, that’s something that I really like.
I just have to keep going and keep doing my things.”
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Gnonto, as he then admits he had to adapt certain qualities to the increased demands of Premier League football:
“The intensity side, everyone is fast, quick, strong. You have to think quickly because I’m not the biggest guy so I have to be quicker in my head and do what I have to do.”
Playing in the Premier League was a “dream” for Gnonto
What a great character Gnonto is.
He possesses all the traits to make him a fan favourite at Leeds. His skill on the pitch is just as admirable as his conduct off it. Hard working. Determined. But above all else, humble.
For a player his age to be as good as he is, he would perhaps be forgiven for letting it get to his head slightly. But in all media released featuring him, he appears the exact opposite, something which the Elland Road faithful will surely appreciate.
There are many supporters clamouring for Gnonto to start tomorrow against Brighton after being benched in the Whites’ last Premier League game against Chelsea last weekend.
As Gnonto is a player who always has a trick up his sleeve, it’s hard to argue with them. He may just hold the key to unlocking a stern Brighton defence.