Leeds United have publicly ruled Kalvin Phillips out for six weeks after he suffered a shoulder injury in Monday’s Premier League defeat to Wolves.
But the pain of losing their midfield pivot and arguably most valuable player may not be quite as prolonged as first thought.
Sources close to the Leeds dressing room have suggested to Football Insider there is hope Phillips can return ahead of schedule straight after the next international break.
Phillips is undergoing rehab at Thorp Arch with the club’s physios as they work on getting him back into action.
There is said to be no chance of him figuring in the next three matches – league encounters against Aston Villa, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
But the Arsenal match – scheduled for 21st November – and the trip to Everton seven days later have privately not been ruled out by Leeds for Phillips to be involved.
Phillips played the full 90 minutes against Wolves in a match settled by Raul Jimenez scoring the only goal.
He was subsequently spotted by eagle-eyed Football Insider columnist Noel Whelan shaking hands with his left rather than normal right hand after the final whistle.
“He went off with a shoulder injury,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He sustained it in the second half after a bit of a tumble.
“He did not look too comfortable after the game when he was shaking hands with players. He never used that arm, he always went across to his left hand.
Hours later, Leeds announced Phillips would be out for “up to six weeks”.
The central midfielder has played the full 90 minutes of all five of the club’s Premier League matches this season.
Bielsa announced at his media conference yesterday that centre-back Pascal Struijk would replace him in the starting XI against Aston Villa tomorrow night.