Marcelo Bielsa refuses to ban Raphinha from Leeds to Southampton trip
Marcelo Bielsa refuses to send Raphinha out of Leeds to Southampton trip on Saturday, despite the winger getting ready to start for Brazil 36 hours in advance
- Raphinha could make his first start for Brazil in their clash against Uruguay
- The World Cup qualifier starts on Friday at 01.30 British time in Manaus
- The winger faces a 36-hour turnaround to play in Leeds’ match this weekend
- Marcelo Bielsa’s side travels to Southampton on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off
Marcelo Bielsa has not barred Raphinha from participating in Saturday’s Premier League game in Southampton, despite his involvement with Brazil.
Raphinha is reportedly set to make his first start for Brazil in the early hours of Friday morning against Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.
The 24-year-old faces a 36-hour turnaround to join Bielsa’s side traveling to the Saints on Saturday afternoon, but the Leeds boss says Raphinha could still be in the running to play in the league game.
Marcelo Bielsa refuses to send Brazil’s Raphinha (left) out of Leeds’ game on Saturday
The 24-year-old was able to make his first start for Brazil in the early hours of Friday morning
“There’s no doubt it’s a short turnaround,” Bielsa said. “The options he has for entering the game on Saturday will depend on whether he plays this last game tonight, how many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after participating and how efficient his rest is over the next 36 o’clock.
“If you consider that he will be spending a third of those hours on a flight and if there is a risk that fatigue could cause injury, we will not risk that.
“There are so many aspects to take into account that I can’t offer you any certainty anyway.”
While government quarantine rules have been relaxed to allow players to train and play on their return from ‘red list’ countries while in isolation, some South American Premier League players are facing tight turnarounds to this. weekend in their teams’ matches.
Marcelo Bielsa (left) admits it will be a tight turnaround but insists the winger has options
Several Premier League clubs have chartered a private jet to ensure their South American players are back this weekend.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leeds and Aston Villa are said to be involved in clubbing together for a six-figure plane to carry international players.
Nine top representatives from Brazil and Uruguay will leave immediately after their World Cup qualifier in Manaus, which starts on Friday at 1.30am British time.
Raphinha is among those expected to fly back on the chartered jet along with United’s Edinson Cavani and Fred, City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus and Liverpool pair Alisson and Fabinho.
Gabriel Jesus hopes to play for Manchester City 37 and a half hours after Brazil’s match
Fabinho (left) and Fred are among the top nine stars called up for World Cup qualifiers
Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz are also traveling home and the possibility of arranging two flights, splitting the group according to where their clubs will play on Saturday, has been discussed.
The Spurs are also planning to fly their quartet – Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, Colomba’s Davinson Sanchez and Brazil’s Emerson Royal – also by private jet ahead of Sunday’s trip to newly acquired Newcastle.
All flights will be kept socially distancing, with passengers all wearing masks.
Giovani Lo Celso (right) and his Spurs teammates will be back to England on a separate jet
The Premier League clubs initially hoped that their stars would be withdrawn from the games of these fortnights early in order to be back in time for the resumption of the season.
But their hopes were dashed when Brazil followed Argentina by confirming that their Premier League players would not be allowed to return to England prematurely from international duty.
Brazilian head coach Tite said: ‘There was never that opportunity’ [of them returning to England early]. They were called up for the three games.’
Brazilian boss Tite said there was never a chance his stars would return to England prematurely
Bielsa confirmed that Patrick Bamford will remain absent due to the ankle injury that has kept him out of the last two Premier League games.
Kalvin Phillips ‘has a chance’ of being available, Bielsa said, after the midfielder withdrew from the England squad last week due to a calf strain.
Bielsa also revealed that German defender Robin Koch – sidelined since the opening defeat to Manchester United – is currently in America undergoing a minor procedure to fix a tricky pelvic problem.
Luke Ayling is still recovering from minor knee surgery, but Jack Harrison, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Crysencio Summerville are all competing.
Striker Patrick Bamford (right) absent from Leeds weekend game with ankle problem