Revealed: Bielsa plots big Leeds player change of heart ahead of QPR clash
Marcelo Bielsa is edging closer towards handing Eddie Nketiah his first league start for Leeds United after being encouraged by his best all-round display for the club last weekend, Football Insider understands.
The striker, 20, is still waiting for his full Championship debut at the Yorkshire giants despite scoring five goals and having a superior scoring record to first choice Patrick Bamford.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that Bielsa is growing increasingly convinced that Nketiah is ready to be unleashed in his league starting line-up for the first time as he plots a potential tweak to his line-up against QPR on Saturday.
The Argentine has held back the Arsenal loanee up to this point because he believes Bamford’s all-round game offers more to the team.
Yet he privately recognises that the case for Nketiah to be in the XI from the start is becoming more persuasive after his impressive display in last weekend’s goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
The England Under-21 international replaced Bamford at half-time and had what many observers felt was his best game yet in a United shirt.
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Nketiah did not manage to break the deadlock and add to his three Championship and two League Cup goals for the club.
But he was far more involved in Leeds’ play that he had previously been, with his previous matches showcasing his predatory finishing and threat in and around the box.
Some have called for Bamford and Nketiah to be paired in a two-pronged strike attack, and that is a possibility that Bielsa is seriously considering for the first time.
Alternatively, the £7million signing from Middlesbrough may be omitted from the Leeds XI for the first time this season after starting the previous 14 Championship matches.
Bamford has scored four goals – all in the league – for United this season, but his drought has extended to the last nine matches.