Marcelo Bielsa will have spoken with Ezgjan Alioski behind the scenes at Leeds United and there is “every chance” he will be rested on Saturday. 

That is according to former Europan Golden Shoe winner Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider ahead of Leeds’ clash with Sheffield United at Elland Road tomorrow afternoon.

Alioski, 29, has just returned from international duty with North Macedonia after starting all three matches of the team’s March World Cup qualifiers.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa gestures

One of those matches was a famous 2-1 victory over Germany, only the third time the four-time world champions have suffered a defeat in World Cup qualifying.

The spotlight has been focused sharply on Alioski in recent weeks after the player agreed a pre-contract move to rivals Galatasaray, as first revealed by this site.

Taking the impending switch and fatigue caused by the international break into account, Phillips predicts that Bielsa will leave left-footed Alioski out against the Blades.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “There’s every chance he could be rested. To play that amount of football and be expected to perform for Leeds United is a big ask.

“But I’m sure Bielsa will have spoken to the player, see how he feels and they’ll make a joint decision.

“From my experience, players who go away and come back having played that amount of football, it’s difficult. So it’s a big call for Bielsa.”

Alioski signed for Leeds from Swiss side Lugano in 2017 and has established himself as a terrace favourite in his four seasons in West Yorkshire.

He has missed just two matches for the club in the league in 2020-21 and has racked up 162 appearances across his time at Elland Road.

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