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Should Pierre-Michel Lasogga stay on the bench for Leeds when he’s fit again?

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Big time Charlie’s got the blues

Leeds United v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When the lineup was released for the match against Middlesbrough last Sunday, almost everyone was surprised to see Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s name absent from the starting XI. It came out during the match that Lasogga was “ill” and would not take part in the next few matches. Kemar Roofe started the match, and Leeds looked like the Leeds United of August & September, not the Leeds United of October’s capitulations against Sheffields United and Wednesday.

And after the demolition by Wolverhampton, where Kemar Roofe started once again, Lasogga still missed out as Leeds won at Barnsley FC for the first time in decades, once again appearing to put the ghosts of October behind them.

So does this mean that Lasogga should have to earn his place back in the club?

Lasogga has had a Jeckyl and Hyde season so far for Leeds. Most recently, Lasogga was quite poor at Brentford and was subbed off at half-time for Roofe, and it looked as if Leeds were going to at least snatch a point before Andy Lonergan’s questionable goalkeeping on the free-kick that gifted Brentford the lead.

Now that Lasogga has missed three straight games with what Christiansen referred to as “illness” and Leeds have had two of their better performances in months, with the Wolverhampton loss sandwiched between them. Kemar Roofe tirelessly harassed defenders, freeing up space for the attacking trio behind him. Caleb Ekuban showed a good amount of pace and power, while still tracking back to cover.

The only problem is that for all of Ekuban’s physical talents, his finishing often leaves much to be desired, and while Roofe had an impressive goal scoring record in League Two, he’s only really shown that flair against Newport County in the League Cup for Leeds this year.

Lasogga might be the best “finisher” at the club, but when the chips are down, he doesn’t seem up for a physical challenge and doesn’t offer a whole lot other than goalscoring. When he’s on, Lasogga has all of the talent to be one of the top strikers in the Championship, but when he’s off, he’s a waste of space, barely running and failing to even contest headed balls into the box.

Leeds brass knew that they were getting a player with some baggage when the loan deal with Hamburger SV was made, as it’s not every day that a Bundesliga club literally pays a player to not play for them. And while he’s show some positive attitude at first, showing up and playing while his partner was having a baby, his play on the pitch has often appeared lazy and disinterested while Leeds were failing to pick up points.

If Lasogga wants to get back into the team, the Pierre-Michel Lasogga that played against Burton Albion or Bristol City needs to show up, not the barely interested passenger that showed up against Reading FC or Brentford. Christiansen needs to have a short leash on him and figure out a way to motivate him. Leeds needs all players to be paddling in the same direction on the boat if they are to succeed this season.