Leeds United new boy Ian Poveda has been axed from the squad because he’s not convinced Marcelo Bielsa his fitness is up to speed, Football Insider understands.
The 20-year-old is still waiting for his first action at the Yorkshire giants since signing from Manchester City in the January window.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that Bielsa has impressed by Poveda’s technical ability at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground but has omitted him from the matchday 18 because he’s not at the elite fitness level of those getting selected.
There has been surprise among supporters that Poveda, who is a winger or attacking midfielder, immediately slotted into the squad following his arrival but has subsequently been demoted.
He was in the 18 for the Championship matches against Millwall and Wigan Athletic without coming off the bench, but has missed out completely for the last five league games.
Eyebrows were raised further on Wednesday night when Jean-Kevin Augustin missed out due to injury and Bielsa called up home-grown Jordan Stevens to the squad rather than Poveda.
The hamstring problem that has hit Augustin is set to sideline him against Hull City for tomorrow’s 12.30pm kick-off.
It will be a blow to Poveda if he is once again given the cold shoulder by Leeds’ demanding manager.
Bielsa is renowned for putting huge emphasis on supreme levels of fitness and the senior players have made it clear they are pushed as hard in training as in matches.
Poveda was one of three January signings made by Leeds along with Augustin and Eli Caprile, all of whom have barely figured as Bielsa has remained loyal to the players who have taken the team to second in the Championship.
The promotion hopefuls have put a wretched run behind them with three consecutive 1-0 victories.
In other Leeds United news, it has been REVEALED that the club agreed blockbuster near-£20m deal with Premier League club just a few weeks ago.