ROBERT Snodgrass has cast fresh doubt on his future at Leeds United after revealing he is sceptical about promises being made to him about the future of the club by chairman Ken Bates.
Scotland international Snodgrass has a year left on his existing contract at Elland Road and admits he may have to consider a move elsewhere to maximise his chances of featuring regularly for his country in the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The 24-year-old winger was appointed captain of Leeds three months ago by new manager Neil Warnock, who is anxious to retain his services as he bids to guide the Yorkshire club back into the English Premier League next season. But Snodgrass remains unconvinced about the level of investment in the Leeds playing squad intended by Bates this summer.
“The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me,” said Snodgrass. “He’s telling me what plans he has got for the club. But they told me the same type of plans the season before and it didn’t work out. So it’s hard to buy into these things again.
“I’m captain now, so I should be able to just sit back and let everything else happen. But it’s a wee bit unfortunate that I’m in this situation. I’ll make the right decision when the time comes. If there’s no decision to be made, then by all means I’ll stay at Leeds for the last year of my contract.
“The Scotland manager has told me a few times that there is a window of opportunity for progress. I need to think about that as well. It’s hard for an international manager to throw a Championship player in at the deep end for some of these big World Cup or European Championship qualifiers. He’s got a job to do and needs to pick his best possible eleven. If you are playing with better players in the Premier League, then it only helps Scotland as well.
“I’d love to get into the Premier League. I would love it to happen with Leeds United. To lead Leeds United back into the Premier League would be a dream come true. The place would be absolutely buzzing. So there are different things for me to think about right now.
“I could have maybe done that last year – jumped ship and tried to force Leeds to sell me. But I was happy, because we were so close to going up the season before. I thought, with different players coming into the club, we could maybe progress into the Premier League. But it was a disappointing season we’ve just had, really. It didn’t really pay off.
“So the next decision for me is vital. But it’s not just about me, it’s about my family and making the right decision for them. Before, it was always just about me and football, going out to enjoy it. But that’s not the case now.
“I’ve got my own wife (Denise) and daughter (Sienna), but I’ve got family back home as well I need to try and help – nieces and nephews. I’ve told the chairman that in the past I’ve just signed on the dotted line without any questions. I’m now questioning how much money they are going to give me. I went down there as a nobody, no-one really knew who I was. For them to give me the chance to play down there was all I asked.
“So I just signed on the dotted line every time there was a new contract. But I’m at the stage of my career now where I have to think what’s best for my family. That’s my reason for taking time and not just signing.”
Warnock has publicly promised Snodgrass he will help him get a move to a Premier League club if Leeds fail to win promotion next season, but that cuts little ice with the former Livingston player.
“He’s already said he won’t be sticking around as manager for much longer,” said Snodgrass. “Who knows whether he’s got one or two more years left at Leeds? If it’s one year, and I don’t sign the contract, then I’ll be free next year. If I do sign, I’d have another year left and be in the same situation I am now.
“So it’s alright for him to say he could get me a move, but if he leaves, then the people up above him in the football club are not going to worry about what he said. My future doesn’t lie in the hands of Neil Warnock, it’s in the hands of Robert Snodgrass.”
The Leeds skipper has missed Scotland’s trip to Florida this week, despite being earmarked for a starting place in Saturday night’s friendly against USA in Jacksonville.
“Craig Levein told me I was going to start in America but I had to pull out because of a rehabilitation programme Leeds have got me on for a back problem,” he said. “If it had been a qualifier, it would have been a different story. The manager has stressed I am part of his plans for Scotland.”
lRobert Snodgrass was speaking at Hampden, where he attended the Tesco Bank Football Challenge involving children from 30 different schools across Scotland. The event is part of a four-year community programme run in partnership with the SFA for Primary 2 and 3 children.