Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Raphinha after the summer signing made his full debut for Leeds United against Arsenal yesterday.
The former Whites and Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 23-year-old proved he was a “more intelligent” player than Helder Costa on Sunday evening.
Raphinha replaced Costa from the side that lost 4-1 at Crystal Palace prior to the international break on the right-hand side of the attack.
It was the Brazilian winger’s first start since his £17million deadline-day move to Elland Road from French side Rennes.
Marcelo Bielsa applauded Raphinha’s performance after the match but insisted he did not do “enough to shine”.
When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the attacker’s full debut, Whelan said: “We have seen some really good substitute appearances from him.
“Raphinha has looked lively and created chances, he was excellent against Crystal Palace.
“He is very tidy, has a great range of passing and has genuine pace. He tries to make things happen.
“There was a bit of slackness but when I look at that player I feel there is so much more to come. If he gets a regular run of games we will start to see the best of him.
“Running with the ball he looks so comfortable and he can use both feet so he can play on either side.
“He gives Marcelo Bielsa something a little bit different. Raphinha and Costa are similar players but Raphinha has is more intelligent and is better with his decision-making.”