Leeds United winger Raphinha is “very, very close” to earning his first Premier League start, according to Danny Mills.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Leeds and England full-back claimed the winger will have spent the international break working to get up to the level Marcelo Bielsa demands.
Raphinha moved to Leeds from French side Rennes in October for £17million but has featured in just three Premier League games for his new side.
His latest appearance came in the Whites’ 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace just before the international break where he replaced Helder Costa at half-time.
Before the trip to Selhurst Park the Brazilian had played just 15 minutes of English top-flight football.
Asked by Football Insider whether he was surprised by how little the 23-year-old has featured this term, Mills said: “We’ve seen it before.
“Marcelo Bielsa takes his time with players to get them up to certain fitness levels, and to get them to understand the way that he wants them to play.
“That takes a little bit of time sometimes for certain players.
“The fact that he’s had an international break means he will have been able to do plenty of work on the training ground. He must be very, very close to pushing for a starting role.”
Prior to his move to Yorkshire, Raphinha scored once and provided two assists in six Ligue 1 games for Rennes in this campaign.
In the only full season he spent in northern France, he netted seven times and contributed a further five assists in 30 games across all competitions.
In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has been left buzzing after the club agreed a new contract with a “fantastic” player.