By Noel Whelan

13th Jan, 2021 | 7:00am

Pundit Exclusive: Leeds 2020 signing 'Facing Long Freeze-Out'

Noel Whelan has claimed Leeds United winger Helder Costa “will be facing a long freeze-out” after his recall went horribly wrong.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker and boyhood Elland Road fan claimed the Portugal international, 27, is struggling to live up to his star status.

Costa has lost his place to the summer arrival Raphinha and has not started a Premier League match since the 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on 7 November.

 

He was one of five outfield Leeds players that played the full 90 minutes in Sunday’s humiliating FA Cup defeat to Crawley.

Whelan believes Costa has been hit hard at slipping down the pecking order after being a key player in the Championship-winning 2019-20 campaign.

The ex-striker told Football Insider: “He started off very well, but he’s now completely dipped, it looks like he’s lost a bit of passion, it looks like he’s lost a bit of confidence in himself and Marcelo Bielsa has made that decision to drop him.

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“I think Marcelo is going to need to see something a lot more than he’s already seen so far if he’s going to break through into the squad again.

”He will be facing a long freeze-out.”

Signed by Leeds on a loan-to-buy deal in the summer of 2019, the initial loan was converted into a permanent deal in the last window for a fee of around £15million.

He has had just 55 minutes of substitute action in United’s last nine Premier League matches.

In other news, Leeds United have opened talks over signing left-sided centre-back this month in 6-figure deal.