By Noel Whelan

15th Oct, 2021 | 12:07pm

Pundit raises Raphinha fears after Friday development and Leeds update

Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United must be “very careful” about playing Raphinha against Southampton after his international exploits.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker suggested it would be a risk for the 24-year-old to feature after starring for Brazil against Uruguay early this morning (Friday, October 15th).

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Marcelo Bielsa confirmed he would not gamble on the winger’s fitness and that his availability would depend on his fatigue levels.

Making his first start for Brazil, Raphinha stole the show against Uruguay with two goals to his name.

He featured as a substitute in his country’s other two games over the international break.

With just 34 hours between Brazil and Leeds’ games, Whelan admitted Raphinha may need a rest before returning to domestic action.

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“I think you’ve got to be really careful with the fact he’s played 70 minutes,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.

“It was a really successful international experience with the three games that he’s played in. Involved in four goals scored by Brazil, getting on the scoresheet twice, great finishes as well I’ve got to say.

“He’s showing what an important player he is for the national side. Taking them to another level, in my opinion, with the way he plays and his directness.

“When you play 70 minutes, three games being away, it’s a long haul flight. You’re going to be sitting there for a long time on a plane.

“I really think that you’ve got to be very careful. When you play 70 minutes, that’s when the fatigue and the lactic acid builds up. When you’re sitting on a plane high in the air, it’s not good for the body.

“He might need a little bit of a break from playing because it’s not like you’re travelling across from France. It’s a very short time between travelling again with the team to Southampton and and playing the game.

“I think you have got to be very, very mindful of what he has put in during his away days with Brazil.”

In other news, Leeds United star facing “tough” comeback trail after “massive” injury blow.