Alex McLeish has suggested Leeds United need Raphinha to avoid the “nightmare” of missing Patrick Bamford against Southampton.
The former Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 24-year-old winger shouldered the attacking responsibility as the England striker sat against West Ham and Watford.
As reported by The Athletic’s Phil Hay, Leeds have been confident of having Raphinha available for Saturday’s game with Southampton despite his international commitments.
Full Brazil debut pending for Raphinha on Friday. Leeds have been saying since his call-up that they were confident of having him at St Mary's for the Southampton game on Saturday. Tight turn around.https://t.co/xj9xNYAjUa— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) October 13, 2021
Brazil face Uruguay in the early hours (BST) of Friday morning, with Leeds kicking off at 15:00 on Saturday.
As reported by Brazilian news outlet ge.globo, manager Tite outlined his plans to hand Raphinha his first start after two substitute appearances.
As such, the Whites’ winger faces a race against time to be available for the trip to St Mary’s.
Bamford may also be a doubt, having missed Leeds’ last two games with an ankle injury.
Raphinha starred in his absence, scoring against West Ham and helping seal a first league win of the season over Watford.
McLeish admitted he feared for Leeds without Bamford.
However, he insisted having Raphinha available helped soften the blow.
McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “He makes things happen. He’s a guy you just love to see get on the ball, the end product is usually pretty positive.
“He’s such a threat. Especially when Leeds are without Bamford, we’ve been worried.
“We thought, as outsiders looking into the great Leeds United setup, it’s going to be a nightmare if he’s not there.
“A good performance, a good win (v Watford). Raphinha is just different class, I love watching him.
“I always want to see him getting on the ball when he’s on that pitch.”
In other news, Football Insider can reveal Liverpool have set sights on signing third Leeds United star.