Leeds United’s already thin back line is going to be tested even further as it appears that Sweden international Pontus Jansson is injured. Jansson was deemed not fit enough to participate in Nations League matches, and has returned to Leeds.
Pontus Jansson flies back to Leeds from international duty with Sweden due to a foot injury sustained in the defeat to West Brom . He was in the squad to face Turkey and Russia. #lufc— Adam Pope (@apopey) November 12, 2018
Jansson suffered an injury after being on the receiving end of a tackle from West Bromwich Albion’s Harvey Barnes. The Leicester City midfielder went in hard on Jansson and the big Swede appeared to roll his ankle, although he was able to continue in the match.
If Jansson is forced to miss any time in recovery, it will put a serious strain on the Leeds defence. Leeds are already missing Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi through injury and have only just gotten Barry Douglas back to full fitness. Even Tom Pearce, who had been rarely called up on this season, is currently suffering from injury problems.
Does this mean that one of the highly regarded U23s gets called up? Or will Kalvin Phillips, who has been used as a central defender in a back three, get the nod to pair with Liam Cooper? Aapo Halme, Pascal Struijk, and Hugo Diaz are all defenders that Marcelo Bielsa could call upon to play in central defence, but Bielsa has been loathe to bring U23 players up in the past, instead using players such as Stuart Dallas out of position as cover instead.
Phillips has only been used as a central defender as part of a back three so far this season, so it remains to be seen if he can step in as part of a back four, and moving him back would create yet another hole that would need to be filled, although it would likely mean that Adam Forshaw would take up the defensive midfielder role instead of Phillips, meaning that Samu Saiz would come back into the starting lineup.
Leeds don’t play again until 24 November, when they host Bristol City at Elland Road, and don’t face a serious challenge until 1 December, when the team travels to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United, so let’s hope that whatever injury that Jansson has, he will have recovered by then.