Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds (broadcast on 19/10 from 17:00) that Helder Costa has not done nearly enough to keep a place in Leeds United’s side once Pablo Hernandez returns from injury.
Costa endured another frustrating afternoon in Leeds’s 1-0 win over Birmingham on Saturday. He was unable to make much of an impact on the game.
The Portuguese did have a chance during the first-half when he latched onto Patrick Bamford’s pass. However, his attempt was blocked.
Costa’s form has left plenty of fans feeling concerned. The Daily Mail reports that Leeds have committed to paying £15 million to sign him permanently next summer. But so far, he has contributed just one assist in the Championship and is yet to open his account in the league.
And Whelan insisted after Saturday’s 1-0 win that the attacking midfielder needs to do so much more to justify the club’s decision to agree a permanent move to Elland Road ahead of next summer.
“The one good game where I’ve seen him play, where I thought he was a little bit more like the player that we were expecting was against West Brom. I expected a lot more from him today as well,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
Could Costa be dropped?
“There’s so much more to come from him. He’s got to have a lot more impact on a game from that position. We know he can take people on, but how many times did he take someone on and get to the byline? How many times did he drive into that 18 yard box? He’s one that needs to step up to the mark as well.
“He’s been given an opportunity while Hernandez is out. Quite frankly, I don’t think he’s taken it. I think Hernandez will go straight back in in place of Costa. I don’t think he’s done enough,” he went on to add.
In fairness to Costa, he has only started four league games. As Whelan notes, he was excellent against West Brom. And there is no question that his task was made tougher in one of the other games with Leeds having a man sent off early on.
There have been flashes of brilliance, particularly in the Carabao Cup. But given that he is set to become one of the most expensive signings in the club’s history, flashes of brilliance are surely not enough.