Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to axe Helder Costa and hand Ian Poveda a rare start for Leeds United against Brighton.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Portuguese winger had not done enough in Raphinha’s absence to retain his starting spot.
As confirmed by Bielsa on Thursday, Raphinha is still out of action due to a hematoma suffered in the draw with Manchester City.
🎙️ "Raphinha no, Rodrigo sí" Marcelo gives an update on the squad ahead of our clash with Brighton pic.twitter.com/5QQcWrZe0B
— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 29, 2021
The 24-year-old winger has missed Leeds’ last two games and Whelan has suggested he should be joined on the sidelines by fit-again Rodrigo – who is likely to settle for a place on the bench – and Costa, 27.
Poveda is yet to start a Premier League game, with all 12 of his appearances coming off the bench.
“I think when he’s come on, Ian Poveda, he’s done really well,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.
“He’s very direct, he’s very confident in his ability, he likes to take players on. He likes to make things happen as quickly as possible when he gets the ball at his feet.
“That’s something that Helder Costa doesn’t do considering the talent that he has. It seems to be the young boy that has no fear about losing the ball in the right areas.
“I don’t mind you losing the ball when you’re trying to be positive. When you’re trying to take people on in the final third. To create something or make something happen for his teammates.
“From when he’s come on and he’s had that opportunity, absolutely he deserves the opportunity. He’ll maybe be a bit more effective than Helder Costa has been.”