NOT RULED OUT: Bielsa says Raphinha may play against Southampton
Marcelo Bielsa has not ruled Raphinha out of Saturday’s Premier League game at Southampton despite his involvement with Brazil.
Raphinha is reportedly poised to make his first start for Brazil in the early hours of Friday morning against Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.
“There is no doubt that it’s a short turnaround,” Bielsa said. “The options he has to participate in the game on Saturday depends on whether he plays this final game tonight, how many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after participating in it and how efficient his rest in the next 36 hours is.
“Considering that a third of those hours he will spend on a flight and if there is any risk that fatigue could cause injuries, then we won’t risk it.
“There are so many aspects to consider that I can’t offer you any certainty either way.”
Bielsa confirmed that Patrick Bamford remains absent due to the ankle injury which 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 Germany defender Robin Koch – sidelined since the opening-day defeat at Manchester United – is currently in America to undergo a minor procedure to resolve a troublesome pelvis problem.
Luke Ayling continues to recover from a small knee operation, but Jack Harrison, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Crysencio Summerville are all in contention.
Leeds' upcoming opponents Southampton remain winless in the Premier League this season, drawing four of their opening seven league games.
The Saints lost both of their league ties with Bielsa's side last season after winning five of the previous six top-flight meetings.
However, Leeds have beaten Southampton in Premier League games more than any other team and hope to continue their rich form on Saturday - with or without Raphinha.
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