Thursday, May 28, 2015

United confirm first pre-season dates - Club set for Austrian training camp followed by Norway visit

leedsunited.com 28/5/15
We are pleased to confirm our first two pre-season fixtures of the summer, with the club set to face Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao in Austria and German outfit Hoffenheim in Norway.
As part of a week-long training camp in Austria between July 18-24, United will meet La Liga club Bilbao on Tuesday July 21 at a venue and kick-off time to be confirmed.
The squad will then head to Norway to take on Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on Saturday July 25 (kick-off time TBA). The friendly will take place at the home of Lillestrom SK, where head coach Uwe Rosler spent time as both a player and a manager.
The club would like to thank former United defender Gunnar Halle for his role in facilitating the Hoffenheim friendly in Norway.
Rosler said: “I started last week so my first days at work were spent assessing certain things and what was in place for pre-season.
“We decided it was in the best interests of our football club, and for the quality of teams that we can meet, to go to Austria where we will find very good conditions to train.
“The pitch is walking distance from the hotel and the quality of opposition we will play against was massively important for me.
“I don’t like to go into the heat – I like to go into a moderate climate, very similar to the UK where you can really put a shift in, in terms of laying the foundations for the season.
“Pre-season is very important, but it’s not just the first month – we’re laying the foundations for the next 10 months.
“Gunnar Halle helped us get another top opposition in Hoffenheim. They are one of the most exciting teams with the way they play in the Bundesliga.
“It will be a good trip against two top teams . I didn’t want another game because I think we have to put a lot of things on the training pitch.
“I will spend a lot of time with the players on and off the training pitch to lay the foundations technically and tactically. Not having too many games allows us to do a lot of groundwork for what is needed in the season.”

Leeds United: Hunt for head of recruitment takes a new twist

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/5/15
Phil Hay
Leeds United’s hunt for a head of recruitment is starting again after the bizarre breakdown of an attempt to appoint Norwich City scout Steve Head.
Head was lined up to take the job at Elland Road and visited United’s Thorp Arch training ground last Friday but owner Massimo Cellino has withdrawn his offer in an apparent disagreement over Head’s plans to depart on an immediate holiday.
The YEP understands that Cellino took issue with the absence of United’s new recruitment boss at a time when the club are actively looking for players in the transfer market.
Leeds named Uwe Rosler as head coach last week and have been identifying potential signings in the days since the German took charge of their first-team squad.
Head - a former head of recruitment at Reading - became Norwich’s chief scout last year but is understood to have been on gardening leave since Neil Adams resigned as manager at Carrow Road in January.
Head was poised to lead the transfer strategy at United and was one of a number of additions to the backroom team planned in the aftermath of Rosler’s arrival.
Rob Kelly, the former Leicester City manager, is expected to become assistant boss and Rosler will also be allowed to appoint a first-team coach.
United are now looking for a different head of recruitment, though Celtic’s David Moss - another option who Cellino has spoken to directly - is unlikely to be in the frame after he and the Italian failed to reach an agreement about the role.
Leeds have also been linked with Francesco Marroccu, a man has been working as sporting director at Cagliari and whom Cellino admires, but Marrocu speaks little English and does not fit the criteria of a recruitment specialist with extensive experience of the British game.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Leeds United: Cellino finally providing framework for success

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/5/15
The arrival of Rob Kelly as Uwe Rosler’s No 2 is virtually finalised and little by little Leeds United look less like a one-man club.
Adam Pearson, their new director, made the point last week that Leeds still have a solitary owner – “he’ll set the policies and he’ll make the ultimate decisions” – but Massimo Cellino appears to be embracing the framework of staff which many think he needs.
The involvement of Pearson himself is progress for a club who, Cellino aside, have not had an experienced football mind in the boardroom for the best part of two years. Rosler, too, is a credible head coach; good enough to justify replacing Neil Redfearn, though not to justify the treatment of Redfearn in general.
Rosler was given free rein to appoint his own backroom team and Kelly should become the first addition to it before the end of this week, returning to the game four months after leaving West Brom in the aftermath of Tony Pulis’ appointment at the Hawthorns.
Kelly, 46, had a limited profile as a player, largely because a back injury forced him to retire before his 25th birthday. Between periods at Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and a loan with Tranmere, he made fewer than 100 league appearances. His first coaching job was with the youth-team ranks at Molineux.
As a coach, Kelly is well regarded and has found regular work in the Football League, much of it coming as assistant to Alan Irvine – they were together at Sheffield Wednesday. His reign at Leicester City in 2006 and 2007 was his only spell as a full-time manager but he has acted as caretaker at almost all of his clubs, most recently at West Brom.
Kelly’s input at Thorp Arch will be supplemented by the arrival of another, as yet unnamed, first-team coach. In his discussions with Cellino, Rosler was told that he could fill both positions and would also be supported by a dedicated head of recruitment.
United have not officially parted company with their existing sporting director, Nicola Salerno, but the Italian is highly unlikely to play any active role at Elland Road next season. He has been absent from the club since becoming embroiled in the suspension of Steve Thompson – Redfearn’s assistant – at the beginning of April.
Earlier this month, Cellino spoke with David Moss, a scout at Celtic, about the head of recruitment post but Moss will not be taking it up. Steve Head, Norwich City’s chief scout, was strongly linked with the job over the weekend and is understood to have visited United’s training ground at Thorp Arch last Friday but sources at Leeds say it is not certain that Head will join the club.
Cellino, meanwhile, is an admirer of Francesco Marroccu – the outgoing sporting director at his former club Cagliari – but Marroccu speaks little English and is not seen as a viable candidate.
Rosler appears happy to work with a recruitment specialist, saying: “I like it, whatever you call (the job). You need to work with somebody who lets you focus on what’s the most important thing – working and being around the players and having an influence on recruitment.
“I like to work with someone in this role and I’ve got experience of this. I think it will come more and more into English football.”
United’s approach to transfers last season paid close attention to the foreign market and particularly the Italian leagues. Eight of their 15 summer signings arrived from abroad and all three transfers in January – Sol Bamba, Granddi Ngoyi and Edgar Cani – were brought in from Italy.
Rosler has inherited a squad with a continental feel and the German said he would not be averse to more foreign arrivals.
“It’s all about balance,” he said. “If you get the balance in the team right between know-how and hunger, spirit and talent then I think you can go a long, long way.
“For us, we are under financial restrictions so we have to look where we are getting that sort of talent. Sometimes you have to go outside the UK to find that sort of talent. The balance has to be right.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Leeds United: Rosler lines up Rob Kelly as assistant

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/5/15
Phil Hay
New Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler has lined up former Leicester City boss Rob Kelly as his assistant as Elland Road.
Leeds are close to securing the first addition to Rosler’s backroom staff and look set to name Kelly as Rosler’s number two later this week.
Fifty-year-old Kelly is a vastly experienced coach in his own right having managed Leicester in 2006 and 2007 and worked at Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion.
He acted as caretaker manager in spells with each of those clubs but left his most recent job at West Brom after Tony Pulis took over at the Hawthorns in January.
In his younger years, Kelly carved out a short playing career at Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers but was forced to retire through injury at the age of 24.
He would be the first of a number of appointments which Leeds intend to finalise after naming Rosler as their head coach on a two-year contract last week.
The German is set to recruit a separate first-team coach and United will also bring in a specialist head of recruitment to assist with their transfer strategy this summer.
Speaking last week, Rosler said: “I’ve been given the licence to bring in an assistant, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment. I’ll assess the staff who are in place.
“This is good timing because I’ve got time before the players return (from holiday) to speak to the different departments and see what’s in place. I want to give everyone a chance - staff, players - to be on the journey.”

Young stars a 'key factor' for Uwe - "nucleus of the team will stay"

leedsunited.com 25/5/15
Uwe Rosler says the prospect of working with United’s exciting crop of homegrown talent was one of the "key factors" in him taking the head coach job last week, having been assured that the "nucleus of the team will stay".
Rosler is already relishing the prospect of working with the likes of Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor after seeing the Thorp Arch graduates flourish together last season.
“I think that was one of the key factors (in taking the job),” the former Brentford and Wigan Athletic boss explained.
“I saw Leeds United, as I saw many clubs in the last six months, and I was very impressed with some of the performances of those who delivered.
“I think there is a core of players with their best years in front of them.
“I’m very excited to work with that group of players who I see as having great potential to go up the table.
“I think Neil Redfearn left a very solid foundation for me to build on and put the next building block in place.
“These are exciting times, we just need to get the balance right between being ambitious and having realistic expectations.”
Asked if he was confident they would remain Leeds players next season, Rosler replied: “Like we all know, football is a financial-driven business, but we discussed it and I believe what I got told – that the nucleus of the team will stay, definitely.
“The players did well and have their careers in front of them.”
Executive Director Adam Pearson, who unveiled Rosler at a press conference last week, added: “That’s been a very strong indication to myself as well, that the nucleus and the core of the team will be maintained and will not be sold.”
Pearson also insists that Rosler will have a “strong influence” in the players being brought into the club over the summer, despite a head of recruitment soon to be appointed.
“I don’t think a head coach the calibre of Uwe would be sat here if he didn’t think he was going to have an impact or a strong influence on the selection of players,” he said.
“I think that the club is starting to put in place key positions. A club secretary will be joining us soon, we’ve got a head of recruitment and two experienced coaches coming in to assist Uwe.
“I think these are all signs that the club is putting in place the infrastructure required to move forward.
“There’s one owner of this football club and he will set the policy and make the ultimate decisions.
“But I think, to be fair, he’s putting people in place around him now who are strong enough and capable enough to take this club forward.
“I think you will see some key appointments over the next week to show the intent is there.”
Rosler added: “I’ve been given the license to bring in an assistant manager, a first team coach and a head of recruitment.
“I will assess the staff who are in place. It’s actually good timing with the players returning from their holidays – I now have time to speak to the different departments and see what is in place.
“I want to give everybody a chance – staff and players – to be on that journey."

Leeds United: Whites consider move for Beckford

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/5/15
Phil Hay
Leeds United are considering joining the group of teams bidding to sign Jermaine Beckford on a free transfer.
The former Whites star scored a stunning hat-trick for Preston North End in their 4-0 League One play-off final victory over Swindon Town at Wembley yesterday.
The Elland Road club have been in contact with Beckford’s representatives over the past month and owner Massimo Cellino scouted the forward during Preston’s play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.
Discussions between the two camps are understood to have taken place prior to Uwe Rosler’s appointment as Leeds head coach last week and it is not clear if United’s new boss will look for Cellino to follow up his interest in Beckford.
But the 31-year-old – a prolific goalscorer in a previous five-season spell at Elland Road – is one of the Football League’s more attractive free agents after reaching the end of his deal at Bolton Wanderers.
Bolton released him last week and Beckford, who is on loan at Preston, will start actively looking for new employers after yesterday’s play-off triumph.
His haul of 15 goals in his spell at Deepdale helped Simon Grayson’s side gain promotion to the Championship and Preston have already expressed their desire to keep Beckford next season.
Wigan Athletic – Rosler’s old club who were recently relegated to League One – also want to sign the striker.
Rosler, however, is looking to reshape the squad at Elland Road after replacing former head coach Neil Redfearn on a two-year deal last week.
The German will search for a forward suited to his preferred 4-3-3 formation and Leeds are in need of goals after a season in which Mirco Antenucci finished as the club’s top scorer with 10.
Beckford produced 85 in his final three seasons at United, famously claiming the goal which sealed promotion from League One in 2010.
He left for Everton that summer and then spent two years at Leicester City before joining Bolton in 2013.
Cellino is understood to have watched him during the second leg of Preston’s play-off semi-final win over Chesterfield, a match in which Beckford scored twice.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Leeds United: Pearson predicts rapid moves with recruitment

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/5/15
Adam Pearson is optimistic that the appointment of Uwe Rosler as head coach will be the start of a period of stability at Leeds United and says the German will have his “fullest support” as he tries to make his mark on the job.
Pearson attempted to paint a picture of calm at Leeds after Rosler agreed to become the club’s fifth first-team boss in the space of 12 months by signing a two-year contract on Wednesday.
The rapid turnover of coaches at Elland Road is indicative of United’s turbulent existence under owner Massimo Cellino but Pearson, who joined the club as executive director last week, said signs of unrest on the outside were “not what’s paddling under the water.”
Rosler’s arrival ended the reign of Neil Redfearn, the incumbent head coach who held the post for six months and has now been told that he is free to return to his old job as manager of the academy at Thorp Arch. Redfearn’s removal came on the back of a spell of intense speculation about his future and savage criticism of him by Cellino in a Sunday newspaper last weekend. He is understood to be taking legal advice before deciding whether to return to his academy role. Cellino himself has only just returned from a Football League ownership ban and he is at risk of further disqualifications with two tax evasion charges against him due to be heard in Cagliari next month.
The Italian staged a chaotic, 70-minute press conference at Elland Road last week in which he struggled to address the numerous issues affecting Leeds but United are in the process of constructing a new backroom team and expect to appoint an assistant boss, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment in the next seven days. Pearson admitted he was aware of criticism aimed at the club and Cellino, but said: “We’re excited about the future. I know it’s easy for me to say that after 10 days here but I’ve only seen positive signs behind the scenes so far. I can only take that as the way we’re going.
“What you see on the outside is not what’s paddling under the water. I think you’ll find over the coming weeks that there’s a sense of order and stability which starts to pervade the club. We’ve brought in a head coach who knows his own mind and he’ll be strong in those principles. He’ll have my fullest support alongside him. There’s been a process in recruiting (Rosler) which I think has been professional. And that’s the way we intend to continue.”
Rosler has begun discussions about the summer transfer market following his appointment and both he and Pearson insisted that he would have a strong influence on signings at Elland Road, despite Cellino’s habit of controlling that area of the club’s business.
United recently released nine players at the end of their contracts, including Aidan White and Rodolph Austin, but they are yet to clarify whether any of the seven loanees signed last season will return to Elland Road. Cellino decided towards the end of this season that the club would not be retaining Flamengo’s Adryan, believing the Brazilian to be unsuited to English football, but defender Dario Del Fabro could join from Cagliari for a second time.
Centre-back Sol Bamba is also looking for a permanent deal at Elland Road having finished the Championship term on loan from Palermo. The 31-year-old, however, signed off his time in Leeds with some critical comments about Cellino’s running of United.
Asked if Bamba might sign again, Pearson said: “He could well do. We’ve literally had no formal recruitment meeting at all and we know we’re perhaps a week behind where we should be.
“But we’ll very quickly get up to speed and the key people are close to coming in. Uwe is pretty clear on what he wants to come into the club. You’ll start to see some movement pretty quickly. We won’t hang around.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Leeds United: Whites headed for calmer waters - Pearson

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/5/15
Phil Hay
Adam Pearson is optimistic that the appointment of Uwe Rosler as head coach will be the start of a period of stability at Leeds United and says the German will have his “fullest support” as he tries to make his mark on the job.
Pearson attempted to paint a picture of calm at Leeds after Rosler agreed to become the club’s fifth first-team boss in the space of 12 months by signing a two-year contract yesterday.
The rapid turnover of coaches at Elland Road is indicative of United’s turbulent existence under owner Massimo Cellino but Pearson, who joined the club as executive director last week, said signs of unrest on the outside were “not what’s paddling under the water.”
Rosler’s arrival ended the reign of Neil Redfearn, the incumbent head coach who held the post for six months and has now been told that he is free to return to his old job as manager of the academy at Thorp Arch.
Redfearn’s removal came on the back of a spell of intense speculation about his future and savage criticism of him by Cellino in a Sunday newspaper last weekend.
He is understood to be taking legal advice before deciding whether to return to his academy role.
Cellino himself has only just returned from a Football League ownership ban and he is at risk of further disqualifications with two tax evasions charges against him due to be heard in Cagliari next month.
The Italian staged a chaotic, 70-minute press conference at Elland Road last week in which he struggled to address the numerous issues affecting Leeds but United are in the process of constructing a new backroom team and expect to appoint an assistant boss, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment in the next seven days.
Pearson admitted he was aware of criticism aimed at the club and Cellino, but said: “We’re excited about the future. I know it’s easy for me to say that after 10 days here but I’ve only seen positive signs behind the scenes so far. I can only take that as the way we’re going.
“What you see on the outside is not what’s paddling under the water. I think you’ll find over the coming weeks that there’s a sense of order and stability which starts to pervade the club.
“We’ve brought in a head coach who knows his own mind and he’ll be strong in those principles. He’ll have my fullest support alongside him. There’s been a process in recruiting (Rosler) which I think has been professional. And that’s the way we intend to continue.”
Rosler has begun discussions about the summer transfer market following his appointment and both he and Pearson insisted that he would have a strong influence on signings at Elland Road, despite Cellino’s habit of controlling that area of the club’s business.
United recently released nine players at the end of their contracts, including Aidan White and Rodolph Austin, but they are yet to clarify whether any of the seven loanees signed last season will return to Elland Road.
Cellino decided towards the end of this season that the club would not be retaining Flamengo’s Adryan, believing the Brazilian to be unsuited to English football, but defender Dario Del Fabro could join from Cagliari for a second time.
Centre-back Sol Bamba is also looking for a permanent deal at Elland Road having finished the Championship term on loan from Palermo. The 31-year-old, however, signed off his time in Leeds with some critical comments about Cellino’s running of United.
Asked if Bamba might sign again, Pearson said: “He could well do. We’ve literally had no formal recruitment meeting at all and we know we’re perhaps a week behind where we should be.
“But we’ll very quickly get up to speed and the key people are close to coming in. Uwe is pretty clear on what he wants to come into the club. You’ll start to see some movement pretty quickly. We won’t hang around.”