Alan Smith & Rio Ferdinand at Leeds United BSI

Alan Smith: Farke The Right Man To Take Leeds Back To Premier League

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke is the right man to take the club back to the Premier League.

That’s according to former Leeds star Alan Smith who spoke to us here at BoyleSports about his former club’s start to the new season. The former Leeds striker also opened up on his best performance for the club which came against one of Europe’s powerhouses.

Smith spent five years at Newcastle United during his career where he played with legendary Irish goalkeeper Shay Given. He shed light on what it was like playing with Given along with giving his take on the prospect of Harvey Barnes switching international allegiances to Scotland.

Farke Can Take Leeds Back To The Premier League

Q – Let’s talk about Leeds. What have you made of their start to the season? Are you confident that they’ll make a return to the Premier League?

Leeds have started as many people imagined. The takeover has been a distraction and they’ve got a new manager, Daniel Farke, in the dugout. I’m happy with the appointment of Farke as he has the credentials to take Leeds back to the top flight.

The transfer window shutting is a big thing for Leeds as they didn’t want to lose any more players. I’d imagine the team is a lot more settled now. I think Farke dealt with the noise around the club well and stated that he didn’t want any player who didn’t want to represent Leeds.

I hope we can find some stability and I hope the new owners back the manager. I think we’ll go close to promotion this year, but there are great teams in the Championship. I’ve got my hopes, but I hope the belief in the manager is there regardless. He’s the right man to take us back to the Premier League.

Alan Smith’s Fond Memories of Playing AC Milan At The San Siro

I’d say just enjoy it. That was one of my favorite evenings. Playing against the likes of Maldini and Shevchenko is what you dream of as a kid. I feel like going there and enjoying it and taking it in will be a big part of the game plan. The Geordies will travel in force and they’ll probably be as loud as the Milan fans!

When Leeds played there, we had 7 or 8,000 of our fans there, and that helped a lot. I played like an old-fashioned center-forward that night – holding the ball up, fighting for the ball against defenders. It was nothing fancy. It was just a real performance and we got a result. We drew and qualified for the next round. I’ll never forget it.

Harvey Barnes Would Be A Guaranteed Starter For Scotland

That’s the first I’ve heard of this! It’s a difficult one. Harvey Barnes is clearly a talented player and a real asset to Newcastle. I’m sure Gareth Southgate is thinking about putting Barnes in one of his squads to stop him from moving.

I know that’s happened before. He has real competition with Anthony Gordon at Newcastle and he’s started the season really well. I feel that, if he did join Scotland, he’d be a guaranteed starter. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

Given Right Up There With The Best Goalkeepers

I think he would. In terms of shot-stopping ability, Shay was very, very good, and I think he’d rank right up there. The big difference now, though, is that goalkeepers are so good with their feet. They grow up playing like that, so it’s unfair to compare them with ‘keepers of past generations.

Shay would only differ from Ederson and Allison in the fact that Shay wasn’t required to play with his feet as much. Having Ederson in your team is like having an extra outfield player – his distribution is phenomenal.

Modern goalkeepers have that advantage, but from a shot-stopping perspective, I was lucky to play with Nigel Martyn, David Seaman, and so on. These goalkeepers are some of the best ever – in my opinion. Nigel was so calm and made incredible saves. Again, though, he never learned to play with his feet. Paul Robinson did as that’s how he was brought up.

In terms of pure goalkeeping, Shay is right up there with the best of them.

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