By Noel Whelan

31st Oct, 2020 | 11:09am

Exclusive: 'Exceptional' Leeds star tipped for axe by pundit after key Bielsa update

Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to drop Ezgjan Alioski and bring Liam Cooper into the Leeds United starting XI against Leicester City.

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has admitted that being axed would be harsh on the Macedonia international but that it would be for the good of the team.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, as relayed by journalist Joe Urquhart, Bielsa confirmed that Cooper was available for selection after recovering from his groin injury.


Luke Ayling lined up as a makeshift centre-back in the Scotland star’s absence against Aston Villa, with Alioski brought in to play on the left-hand side of the defence.

However, Whelan believes that the 28-year-old is set to drop to the bench as Bielsa looks to get “round pegs back in round holes” against Leicester.

Asked if it would be harsh to drop Alioski, Whelan told Football Insider: “It would be. it would be but I think all the players now know and realise under Marcelo Bielsa there will be certain changes whether you win, lose or draw.

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“To bring certain people in to get round pegs back in round holes, rather than square pegs in round holes. He (Alioski) has done exceptionally well, he knows his role at the club, as does everybody, that if a certain player is to be fit for a certain game, they will be dropped to the bench.

“That is what a team is all about, that is why you have a squad and you have certain players that can understand that role they have to play within the team. It’s going to be a long season, he’s going to be called upon again, no doubt.

“What he has done is shown his professionalism and he’s capable to be at Leeds United and deal with the Premier League.” 

In other Leeds United news, Whelan has revealed he was “wishing” standout player would not feature on Monday night.