What on Earth do we do with Vernon Anita? It’s a poignant question, given his rare appearance for Leeds at the weekend after ever-present Luke Ayling was injured by Liam Bridcutt against Nottingham Forest. With the diminutive player filling in at left-back (after Berardi moved to the right) it made me question where does this seasoned professional actually fit in?
He’s labelled as a central midfielder and played there regularly in the Premier League (albeit in Newcastle’s relegation season) but was a regular in their title winning side at right-back. Leeds have sparingly employed him at left back and, in earnest, he hasn’t looked natural there. He’s a utility player in that he can play in multiple positions but I struggle to see what purpose he has beyond being an intelligent use of the bench, given he could fill in for numerous players if needed.
Fans often call for Anita’s involvement in games because he is a title winning midfielder and this is the area in which we often struggle to control games, but I’m not sure what that hopes to achieve. His position in a title winning side wasn’t as a midfielder, it was as a right-back. And, as it goes, right-back is the only position where we’ve got adequate depth (Ayling/Berardi/Coyle).
At 28 years old I can’t imagine he’s happy to sit on the bench every week, and given his credentials (and previous transfer values) I don’t imagine his contract is a pittance either. When I’ve watched him play at full-back he’s looked out of his depth. Which isn’t unkind, given his limited physical presence. He won’t be winning aerial balls and because he’s out of position, he won’t be driving down the line and crossing the ball like Charlie Taylor would. So what do we do with him?
Wouldn’t we be better moving Anita on in order to bankroll a dedicated left-back? Or to help finance a midfield general to add stability to difficult games? I like the lad, but I simply don’t see how we’re supposed to use him given the current tactical system and the players currently available in those positions.
What do you reckon?
What do we do with Vernun Anita? He doesn't fit in anywhere, so do we:
— I Hate Leeds (@ihatelufc) January 2, 2018