This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Last week we attempted to predict Leeds’ starting XI for their game against Huddersfield Town, and on the most part we did quite a good job.
Ten of our 11 selections were spot on, but one thing we couldn’t account for was a late injury blow for Leeds captain Liam Cooper.
Fortunately, United didn’t miss him too much as a little rejig allowed them to play with a strong backline as they kept a clean sheet against the Terriers.
However, this late injury blow once again highlights how foolish United would be to let Gaetano Berardi leave the club this summer.
Recent reports have stated that the Whites aren’t looking to renew Berardi’s deal, meaning that he would be free to leave the club at the end of the season.
Imagine if the Whites didn’t have Berardi at their disposal this weekend, they wouldn’t have been able to line up with three experienced centre-backs due to their lack of depth, and they wouldn’t have been able to prepare anyone else for playing that role due to how late in the day Cooper’s injury was.
With Leeds picking up so many of these types of injuries since Marcelo Bielsa’s appointment having a defender who can cover multiple positions is absolutely vital.
During his time at Elland Road, the 31-year-old has played as a left-back, a right-back and as a centre-back, and while he’s rarely the first name on the team sheet he provides adequate cover in a number of roles.
Being able to rely on Berardi to do a top job whenever any defender is ruled out must be a great feeling for the manager, and he’s clearly not somebody Leeds should be actively trying to get rid of.
In other news, Leeds fans have been waxing lyrical about one man after Saturday.