Victor Orta has told Leeds United’s website in an open letter to Barry Douglas that the moment that impressed him most during Douglas’ Leeds spell came in the changing room after the play-off defeat to Derby County.
Douglas, 31, has completed a season-long loan to Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn side after falling down the pecking order under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds. The left-back’s Leeds contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he has basically left Leeds.
The one-time Scotland international has managed just 44 appearances for Leeds in more than two seasons. Stuart Dallas is first choice at left-back, while Gjanni Alioski and Leif Davis seemingly sit above Douglas in the pecking order.
Director of football Orta, who is renowned for his close relationship to the players, posted an open letter to Douglas following his exit. He recalled a memory from the play-off defeat to Derby in 2019, and what Douglas did in the changing room.
“Off the field, and on a personal note, the moment you impressed me the most was in one of my darkest moments, after the game with Derby County in the Play-Offs. The dressing room was filled with people crying and emotional,” Orta recalled.
“We were shaken and all fearing for the future – and then you burst into the room and you shouted ‘We keep going and we do it next year’. For some reason, as soon as you said that the room seemed to lift, and the following season we achieved our goal.”
TBR’s view – Douglas exit the right move
As emotional as it is for Leeds fans, the decision to get rid of Douglas is the right one. One of the club’s highest earners, Douglas had become fourth choice in his only position – with Marcelo Bielsa preferring versatile players.
Though it is clear Douglas had an impact in the dressing room and on the younger players, his impact on the pitch was not as strong. Moving him on is the right move for the player himself, and Leeds.