By Kevin Phillips

16th Jul, 2020 | 10:00am

Exclusive: Bielsa warned by top pundit not to axe Leeds star amid whispers

Kevin Phillips has urged Marcelo Bielsa not to drop Illan Meslier for today’s game against Barnsley despite the availability of Leeds United number one Kiko Casilla.

The former Sunderland and Southampton striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, fears just one change would upset the balance of the team.

Casilla is available for selection again after he served the last of an eight-game ban for racist abuse against Swansea on Sunday.

The Spanish shot-stopper kept 15 clean sheets in 35 Championship games, the league’s best, prior to the suspension.

Meslier has started every game in the Leeds number one’s absence and the loanee has impressed on numerous occasions but there are growing whispers the senior man could slot back in goal.

When asked by Football Insider if he expected Casilla to come straight back into the eleven, Phillips said:

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“If you have just won away at Swansea, a tough place to go – why upset the balance of a side? One little change can have a big impact so I would be very cautious of doing that.

“I understand why managers do because Casilla has been an integral part of the team this season and played the majority of the games so I would not be surprised if Bielsa did.

“But I would go again unless forced to change. If you drop Meslier you would get in his head.

“It is a tough call but generally you number one keeper comes back in but off the back of that win at Swansea – why change?”

In other Leeds United news, Michael Brown has told Football Insider the one condition that would be required to sign Edouard from Celtic.

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