Normally when a teenage prospect from a Eredivisie team that had gotten relegated the previous season comes to England, there isn’t a ton of hype. Maybe the club will put out a statement on social media, or a picture with the player holding a scarf. However, Jay-Roy Grot didn’t get that from Leeds United.
Following in the footsteps of players including Eddie Gray and Gary Speed, Jay-Roy Grot will wear the number 11 shirt pic.twitter.com/gBubRAzEvX— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 24, 2017
Rather than emphasis that he was a teenager and still learning, the club decided to launch poor Grot on the hype train, having a “win a signed shirt” contest right after the kid had signed. They also tweeted out a picture of him with the number 11 shirt, and bringing up past Leeds heroes who have worn the number 11 shirt, Gary Speed and Eddie Gray.
All of this could have been avoided, of course, but since Grot was the first player signed after the departure of Chris Wood to Burnley, perhaps the club felt they had to do something to quell the upset fans after Wood left.
Unsurprisingly, not great.
Grot made a few league appearances as a substitute, and even started against Leicester City in the League Cup. He wasn’t great in any of them, but then again, he was still 19 and probably should have been with the youth team, as some of the other young players who joined during the last summer transfer window were.
He was jeered by the crowd in December, leading former head coach Thomas Christiansen to call it a “problem.” And while there was a problem, it didn’t necessarily lie with the fans. They all read the club’s hype and tweets mentioning him in the same breath as Eddie Gray and Gary Speed. The club shouldn’t have hyped him up as much, and Christiansen should have played him in the U23s instead of leaving him to sit on the bench or get 10 minutes on the pitch to be booed by frustrated fans.
Grot played poorly in the loss at Newport County in the FA Cup, and played a game with the U23s, where he scored a really, really fantastic goal and looked fantastic. He was recalled to the senior team and scored against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, but otherwise still looked poor in the senior team.
Overall Grade: D
It might seem a little harsh to grade Grot so poorly, when the blame squarely lies with the club for hyping him up, but it’s honest. Grot did not justify his place on the bench or his time on the pitch with his performances. He needed to go out on loan or spend time in the U23s to develop, not sit around and hope that his name would get called. Of course, with him playing one match for NEC before his transfer, a loan was out of the question last season. He needs to go out on loan this season to get some playing time under his belt and challenge for a spot in a couple years. He’s still only 20 and has a bright future.