Exclusive: Phillips reacts after Bielsa digs out Nketiah during Leeds rant
Kevin Phillips has insisted that Marcelo Bielsa did not get it wrong by rationing Eddie Nketiah’s game time at Leeds United.
The ex-England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, delivered his verdict after the United manager defended his use of striker during his loan from Arsenal.
Bielsa used his media conference yesterday to deliver an hour-long explanation for his selections and decisions, including why he barely used Nketiah in the opening half of the season.
The Argentine accused the England Under-21 striker of “underestimating what Leeds is as a club”, after his frustrations at a lack of playing time led to his season-long loan being terminated in January.
Nketiah played second fiddle to Patrick Bamford for the majority of his stay, despite scoring some crucial late goals as a substitute, and Bielsa insisted that expectations that he would start from the outset were unrealistic.
Phillips told Football Insider. “A bit of everything went wrong for him at Leeds, I suppose, maybe not playing enough.
“You can understand Leeds’ point of view, he’s still a young lad and Bielsa probably sees Patrick Bamford as a more steady, reliable player.”
Asked if it was a mistake not playing Nketiah more, Phillips told Football Insider: “It’s hindsight, isn’t it? Who knows, only Bielsa can answer that but it’ll be interesting to see how the kid develops.
“You can’t really say that Bielsa got it wrong because Leeds are sitting at the top of the league so he knows what he’s doing.”
Leeds moved to replace Nketiah by signing Jean-Kevin Augustin on a loan-to-buy deal at the end of last month.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have agreed a £2.5m deal after fee finalised.