Big selection decisions ahead for Leeds United boss

Leeds United's Sam Byram.
Leeds United's Sam Byram.

So long as the international players have come through their games this week without mishap Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler looks set to have a few selection dilemmas of the right kind when the Whites get back to action this Saturday.

Leeds have three first teamers away playing for their country with Lewis Cook in action for England under 19s, Stuart Dallas playing his part in helping Northern Ireland close in on qualification for the European Championships and new winger Jordan Botaka away with the Congo squad for their African Cup of Nations 2017 qualifiers against the Central African Republic and Angola .

Cook played 90 minutes as the England under-19s as beat Germany 3-2 in Bergisch Gladbach and was a late substitute in a 1-1 draw with Croatia in Zagreb on Monday.

Dallas also played the full 90 minutes in Northern Ireland’s 3-1 win in the Faroe Islands and was back in his country’s side for their 1-1 draw against Hungary on Monday.

Now United boss Rosler will be hoping all three of his international players report back fine so he can get on with his planning for the start of the next section of matches in the Sky Bet Championship.

Back to back home games are next up for the Whites as they take on Rosler’s former club Brentford in their first home 3pm Saturday game of the season then quickly follow-up by hosting third-placed Ipswich Town next Tuesday.

Leeds go into the matches in more confident mood after finally winning their first game of the campaign last time out, but Rosler faces some big selection decisions, particularly with who to start up front.

Chris Wood will obviously lead the line after scoring three goals in his last three games, but will he partner Mirco Antenucci or will it be three up with Dallas and Botaka as the wide men.

It may well be that Botaka does not start against Brentford after his travel from Africa could leave him tired. But the head coach will quickly want to see what his new signing can offer the team and it will not be long before he is given his chance.

That would then leave Rosler with another big decision on what to do with Sam Byram.

To the relief of United fans the club resisted any temptation to cash in on the talented youngster, but after a bright start to the season he has not been in the best of form in recent outings as the right side attacker in a 4-3-3.

Byram could, of course, go back to his preferred position of right-back, but while he has been given an advanced role Gaetano Berardi has done well at full-back and it would be harsh to drop him after the start to the season he has had.

Equally it would be tough on left-back Charlie Taylor if he was left out to accommodate Byram with Berardi switching to the left where he played a number of matches last term.

The answer could be to play the adaptable Byram in a midfield three, but he faces stiff competition in this position from equally talented youngsters Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook and defensive rock Tom Adeyemi.

It is proving hard enough already for Luke Murphy to get into the side following his recovery from injury so there is a queue of talent developing at the club and certainly the competition for places that Rosler has been looking for.