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Elland Road winger woe

22 July 2013

By Tony Leighton

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott will reluctantly be looking to take a leaf out of former England boss Alf Ramsey's book of glory in the forthcoming Sky Bet Championship season.

Sir Alf famously won the 1966 World Cup with a team dubbed 'The Wingless Wonders' after he switched his formation to 4-3-3 due to feeling that the wingers at his disposal could not do the job he required.

That decision, which proved so effective, was Sir Alf's choice. At Elland Road it's a case of necessity for winger-loving McDermott, who is bemoaning the club's lack of wide men as we approach the new campaign.

"Barring Aidan White," notes McDermott, "we've got a squad with no wingers. I've never had that situation before - when I was at Reading we had five wingers.

"Sometimes it's very difficult to change what you're trying to do because you haven't got that personnel. It's something we need to look at, but it's not easy at this moment in time to make those changes.

"Wingers, by definition, do not come cheap and there's no point just buying a winger for the sake of it who can go in one direction but not the other. You need a winger who can be offensive and defensive.

"I've had those in the past and they've made a difference. Now I have to find a way within the squad, with what we've got."

McDermott, who joined Leeds just a month before the end of last season, released five players at the end of the campaign and has since signed two strikers, Noel Hunt from his former club Reading and Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic, plus midfielder Luke Murphy from Crewe Alexandra.

He has not yet been able address his winger deficiency, but that may be about to change. The manager has not confirmed that the player in question is indeed a wide man, but it's perhaps not a bad guess.

"There's one player I've talked with for a number of weeks," says McDermott, "and that hasn't changed, so we'll see what the next week brings."

What the next week brings will, hopefully for McDermott, be the signing of the player he is chasing. What the next season brings will be another attempt by Leeds to regain the Premier League status they lost through relegation in 2004.

McDermott, the sixth man in charge at Elland Road since then, will give his all in an attempt to get the massively supported club back to the promised land.

But he points out: "You have no divine right to get into that top flight, it doesn't matter what your badge says. We need to build and make sure we get it right."

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