Leeds United star Raphinha’s latest illness problems may have been caused by fatigue following international duty.
So says injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.
Raphinha has not played since before the international break after coming down with an unspecified illness.
In a Leeds Live Q&A session on 24 November, Beren Cross claimed that the winger’s absence is non-Covid related.
The 24-year-old featured twice for Brazil over the international break after making the 5,500-mile trip across the Atlantic.
Dinnery suggests Raphinha’s ongoing fitness problems and international duty-related fatigue have been the perfect storm that led to his illness.
“He is struggling with ongoing issues,” Dinnery told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“There is a niggling groin complaint, a hip flexor problem earlier in the season. He also had doubts with that ankle injury he got against Wolves.
“He has been blighted this season but he continues to deliver. He has been massive, especially in the absence of Patrick Bamford.
“We don’t know the precise nature of the illness as of yet.
“But players who are involved in international duty and flying across time zones are going to be more susceptible to the odd illness.
“Elite-level athletes are adaptable and aren’t as affected by jetlag, but that could be an issue. A lack of sleep can cause fatigue.
“He has been playing hot temperatures in South America and then returned to single-figure temperatures in Leeds.
“That can trigger a response from the immune system and you become more susceptible. That’s just a fact.“
Raphinha has five goals in 10 appearances this season.
Jamie Shackleton, Rodrigo Moreno, Robin Koch, Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford are also sidelined at Thorp Arch.
In other news, Leeds United tipped to enter January transfer market after Phil Hay’s £30million claim.