Despite Leeds United’s poor recent form plenty of their first-team players have been called up to international duty this week.
Stuart Dallas, Eunan O’Kane and Pontus Jansson will all be playing for their respective nations in the upcoming week. Another player who has received a call-up to a national team is Hadi Sacko.
The 23-year-old winger has received his first call-up to the senior Mali side. It is a switch in allegiance for the wide-man. Sacko has previously featured for France, playing from under-16 level up to under-20.
Mali take on Japan in an upcoming friendly, who have incidentally dropped loaned out Leeds United midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi.
For Sacko it is a great opportunity to represent his country but for Leeds United fans the call-up was slightly baffling.
Whites fans will, of course, wish their player all the best with Les Aigles. Yet, it is something of a surprise to see him get such recognition.
Sacko’s form this season has not been impressive. Wasteful in possession and lacking an end product, he has struggled immensely in recent times.
Fans have consistently expressed their disappointment at his displays. In fairness, it has been that way for most of his Leeds spell. After initially joining from Bordeaux on loan, Leeds signed Sacko permanently last summer. But his’s tale at Leeds has been one of frustration and inconsistency.
The raw talent is clearly there. Fast, strong and skilfull Sacko has the ingredients to be a success. But it is turning those materials into something tangible which Sacko has struggled with. Garry Monk, Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom have so far failed to make Sacko a credible threat.
Hopefully, Sacko can enjoy a debut with his nation next week. But his inclusion in the Mali squad says more for their pool of talent, then it does his current form at Leeds United.