The vilification of Jay-Roy Grot is misguided and not in order
Thursday, 7th Dec 2017 10:46 by @LucasMonk_
Since eagerly acceding to a three-year contract at Elland Road, the precocious Dutch attacker has been, and continues to be, the subject of much vituperative criticism on the part of some Leeds United supporters - but the vilification of the 19-year-old is puerile and gratuitous.
To a great many Leeds United supporters, the club’s £1,500,000 capture of Jay-Roy Grot from NEC Nijmegen was of appreciable intrigue. They may not have possessed any prior knowledge of the forward’s escapades in both the Dutch Jupiler League and Eredivisie, but a brief perusal of a multitude of sources through the medium of the internet enabled them to learn of his career.
The reputable ACF Fiorentina, of Italy’s Serie A, had been widely purported to have discussed contractual terms with Grot in June, but no deal eventuated owing to a quarrel regarding the transfer fee that would be paid by the Gigliati. Though Grot had not been a prolific goalscorer for NEC - he scored a derisory five goals in 36 appearances - some supporters surmised that in order for the interest of a club such as Fiorentina to be aroused, the player must hold copious potential.
When Leeds corroborated his arrival at Elland Road, many supporters made plain their contentment - the club appeared to have secured for themselves an exceedingly talented fledgling striker who could perhaps play a starring role in the future.
Only four months later, and Grot has not yet registered a solitary goal for United and has scarcely been deployed by head coach Thomas Christiansen. Of his 14 Leeds appearances to date, only two have been starts - away to Burnley and to Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. The other 12 have seen him utilised as a substitute, most frequently with only a meagre portion of a match remaining.
Grot’s supposed profligacy and impotence in a United shirt to date has exasperated a number of supporters. Some have ascribed his barren spell to an absence of alacrity on his part, whilst others have opined that he is an unavailing figure and that he should be relegated to Leeds’ Under-23 squad.
Everybody, of course, is entitled to their opinions, and it is imperative that we supporters confer courteously and thoughtfully. Everybody is also entitled to criticise the performances of the players, the coaching staff and the club’s hierarchy - but much of the criticism to which Grot has been subjected has been unnecessarily opprobrious.
For your benefit, I shall make clear my own position. I believe Grot to have been selected for the first-team prematurely, and that he would be best served spending the season’s remainder with United’s Under-23 squad. In the summer, I would then seek to agree a loan deal for the player that would see him garner invaluable first-team experience, perhaps in the division below. To move to England presents various difficulties to youthful foreign players, and a loan spell can afford to them an opportunity to attune themselves to the rigours of the deeply unforgiving English game. I recall Davide Somma emerging as an integral component of Simon Grayson’s Leeds team in the 2010-11 season, in which he scored 11 goals in 29 league appearances, but not before a bounteous loan with Lincoln City, then of League Two, for whom he scored 9 goals in 14 appearances.
I am attempting, perhaps vainly, to make clear the salience of permitting a young foreign player the time to assimilate the demands of our country’s abrasive, and often merciless, game. Rather unfortunately, some have ostensibly forgotten both that crucial fact and the tender age of the player. For Grot, who has already represented his country internationally at the Under-17 and Under-19 levels, to fulfill his irrefragable potential, we United supporters must fulfill our obligations as followers of the Whites and refrain from unduly excoriating and mercilessly deriding a player who may still come to be an impactful influence for our team. Grot has not yet been afforded a sensible opportunity to develop as a footballer in England and we should consider it unjust to denounce him as a failure after a mere two starts. Are we not better than this?
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