Leeds to assess Raphinha ahead of Palace clash

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has yet to decide whether Raphinha will return to the squad for the trip to Crystal Palace.

The deadline-day signing from Rennes missed the home defeat to Leicester on Monday with an ankle injury after impressing in cameo appearances from the bench against both Aston Villa and Wolves, as well as scoring against Norwich in an Under-23 match.

Should he be fit, it could be interesting to see how Bielsa uses the forward – having said previously that the 23-year-old could be an option as a number 10.

Asked about Raphinha, Bielsa said: “I haven’t decided just yet about Crystal Palace. We’re going to wait until tomorrow (Friday) to see if it is convenient whether we can count on him or not.

“If he plays, he fundamentally plays on either wing. He is a player who is naturally very attacking with ability to get in behind, with dribbling skills and he likes to get in behind.

“His virtue is to attack and these skills are applicable out wide as well as in the centre.

“I won’t say that I won’t use him in another position, but I see him as a player who can play on either wing. He has played in the centre as a striker and attacking midfielder but he arrived in our team to be an alternative on the wings.”

Diego Llorente (groin) and Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) remain out injured while Rodrigo will miss a second match as he continues to self-isolate following his positive Covid-19 test.

Bielsa is confident there are alternatives to call upon in the absence of Rodrigo.

“For every position on the pitch we have various options. We have some options. In the number nine and 10 positions, Rodrigo is an option, but not the only option,” said the Leeds boss.

“It’s always good to have everyone available but the design of the squad is that we can overcome these problems.

“When a player is missing we cannot say he is not missed because that would not be the case but also because he’s missing we cannot resolve his absence. For every game all teams are missing four or five players.”

Leeds are looking to bounce back after being beaten 4-1 by Leicester at Elland Road on Monday night.

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