By Noel Whelan

11th Sep, 2021 | 8:45pm

Leeds star Raphinha 'commended' as Sky journalist reveals twist - Whelan

Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United star Raphinha should be “commended” for choosing not to travel on international duty.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker insisted players have protected themselves and those around them by remaining with their clubs.

As reported by Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol on Friday (10th September), Brazil and other South American have waived the five-day suspension for players who failed to travel for international duty.

That includes Raphinha after his inclusion in the Brazil squad for the first time in his career.

Andrea Radrizzani, speaking to BBC Sport, revealed the winger made the decision not to travel himself.

Whelan admitted he understands why Fifa considered implementing a suspension.

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Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “It’s very difficult because Fifa are wanting to keep the integrity of all the qualifying games.

“You’re fighting against the biggest body in football. It’s very difficult to try and come to that happy medium. Fifa want to have the best players representing their country in the biggest tournament in the world.

“I can see their side to it but we need to take into consideration the times that we’re living in right now.

“Everyone’s got families, children and a work environment as well when you come back. I think the players have their own decisions to make whether they do or don’t go.

“There should not be a punishment for that. If it was a different kind of area where there’s no Covid, completely.

“But I very much doubt anyone would turn down the opportunity to play for their nations.

“The players are protecting themselves, their family, friends and teammates around the football club. That should be commended, not punished.”

In other news, club in advanced talks to sign Leeds United player in matter of days.