Noel Whelan has shared his fears that Kalvin Phillips may be burned out by Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds forward is concerned that the central midfielder has already played every minute of the club’s seven league and cup matches in the new campaign.
Championship regulars Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas, Ben White, Adam Forshaw and Jack Harrison were among those rested from the United starting XI in Tuesday’s League Cup defeat on penalties to Stoke City.
Bielsa maintained his record of being an ever-present at Leeds this season.
Asked by Football Insider if Phillips is being overplayed by Bielsa, Whelan said: “Yes, I think so. The games are coming thick and fast and it’s a long season where you need your best players fit and firing throughout.
“Bielsa needs to show common sense and carefully man-manage the key players like Kalvin. I don’t think he should have played in the cup games, they were good opportunities to rest him and give someone else a chance.
“I hoped he wouldn’t play against Stoke the other night. I wanted us to win the match, but there is enough quality in the squad for Kalvin not to play every minute of every game.
“Given the amount of injuries we got last season, you can’t deny it’s a massive issue keeping everyone on the park.”
United players sustained more than 50 injuries between them last season, an astonishing number that meant Bielsa could rarely select his strongest side.
Many critics have claimed that the manager’s intense and high energy playing style, and rigorous training methods, were partly to blame for the injuries.