Earlier on Thursday, Leeds head coach Redfearn said he was pondering his future after the suspension of assistant Steve Thompson over an “internal matter”. Redfearn added that he was “bitterly disappointed” with the decision.
To add to the confusion at Elland Road, it later emerged that Antenucci will get a new deal if he reaches 12 goals this season with some reports suggesting Redfearn has been told not to select the Italian, who currently has 10 strikes to his name.
Antenucci had scored eight by December 6 but found himself out of form and the team in the new year before scoring in two of his last three games from the bench.
The player himself tweeted on Thursday night: “I don’t know what’s going on around me. It all seems unreal. I’ve tried to do my best for the club always.
“My job is to score for leeds. I am in the middle of this situation that I don’t know the truth.”
Antenucci’s agent, Silvio Pagliari, later released a statement confirming his player’s contract clause but said the decision not to pick him was Redfearn’s alone.
“I know (sic) Nicola Salerno for years and he has assured me that it isn’t absolutely true that this is the reason why he isn’t playing and that the reasons are exclusively technical,” said Pagliari.
“It is very strange that in the last two months the best scorer of the club and the only player to reach the double figures has played very little. Mirco is going to continue, as a big professional player, to give the best of himself for Leeds United AFC, as he has ever done, and to accept the choices of the head coach, who I hope will change his ideas about Mirco’s involvement in the remainder of the Championship season.”