WILL BUCKLEY has learned to be a patient man.
Not just over the past 10 days or so, as Uwe Rosler’s decision to delay the 25-year-old’s loan switch from Sunderland meant he missed out on the mouth-watering prospect of a debut in front of the Sky cameras at Middlesbrough.
But also in terms of a career that has stalled, Buckley’s last first-team start having come almost six months ago – and even then it was only his second of 2015.
Since then, the winger has been frozen out at Sunderland with manager Dick Advocaat making it clear that Buckley’s only playing time in those red and white stripes would be with the club’s development squad.
Today, though, could see all that pent-up frustration finally start to dissipate as Buckley prepares for what is likely to be his bow in a Leeds shirt.
It may come from the bench or he may even start but, either way, the newest arrival at Elland Road is eager to get his career back up and running.
“This is a good move for me,” said Buckley, who will stay at the Yorkshire club until the new year following Rosler’s insistence that the move be delayed a week to fit in with Football League regulations dictating that any loan outside the transfer windows is for a maximum 93 days.
“I had known about Leeds’s interest for a while. Once I realised my chances were on the edge at Sunderland, this was the club I wanted to join.
“Sometimes, things just take time to get sorted.
“There were reasons why I wasn’t let out on loan before the transfer window, but that is for Sunderland to talk about. I just want to play football.
“I have been itching for a game. When I was told how the loan would be, I was really sorry not to be playing at Middlesbrough. Obviously, I wanted to.
“I missed one game, a big game. But I will probably get three or four more to compensate. We had to think long term and I understood that.”
As Leeds have found to their cost several times in the past, Buckley is a player who can cause problems for any Championship defence.
He is direct, can unlock even the tightest backline with his quick feet and he also has excellent vision.
It was, therefore, no surprise when Sunderland’s then manager Gus Poyet spent £2.5m in the summer of 2014 on a winger he had worked with while in charge at Brighton.
Buckley made a limited impact, however, at the Stadium of Light as a loss of form combined with untimely injuries led to him falling out of favour even before Poyet lost his job.
Advocaat’s arrival hardly improved matters and, by the end of his first season on Wearside, Buckley’s position at the Premier League club had become so uncertain that Leeds made an enquiry.
A fee of £1m plus the former Brighton man being on top flight wages meant a long-term loan was beyond United.
Rosler, though, kept an eye on Buckley’s situation and made his move again in the wake of his side’s 2-1 victory at Milton Keynes Dons.
This time, the response was more encouraging leaving Rosler with the decision as to when to finalise the deal.
He opted to sacrifice last weekend’s trip to Boro, meaning Birmingham is likely to be Buckley’s bow.
“This is a good move for me and for Sunderland,” said Buckley. “I hope it is a good one for Leeds.
“Premier League football is where everyone wants to be. Hopefully, I can help get Leeds up there (in the Championship table) before January and that will determine whether Sunderland want me back or agree to let me stay longer.
“It is not just whether it suits me; everyone has got to agree on the best thing. That is what I am saying about what can happen in January because we are not there and I haven’t played yet. Then, we will see what happens.”
Buckley has 93 days to impress sufficiently to make his addition in the new year a necessity.
He added: “It would be great if Leeds did want me to stay, but you go from week to week in football and opinions can change.
“The loan is to January. I will do my best and we will see what happens then. Three months is a long time in football.
“In my head, I am ready. Whether I will have that match sharpness yet, I don’t know.
“It is probably going to take a few weeks but I am here to play and, hopefully, to go straight in.
“But there are good players here and some good wingers, too.
“I am not taking it for granted that I will start every week. I have got to work for it, like every other player.
“What I do on the pitch will earn me starts.”
Asked why things have not, as yet, worked out on Wearside, Buckley replied: “I don’t like to blame anyone. There are different reasons why.
“But I still think I can play in the Premier League. Things change, managers change and I had little injuries.
“Eventually – and I am only 25 – I want to play a lot more at Premier League level.
“Not playing is frustrating. Even being on the bench, you get that itch to start games.
“My chances were limited towards the end of last season and, at this moment, I am not part of the squad there at all. So, I am really looking forward to this.
“Playing games automatically give you base fitness. You need a run in the side so, hopefully, I can get some 90 minutes under my belt since I went to Sunderland.”