Noel Whelan has suggested that Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has had a change of heart at Elland Road and tipped manager Marcelo Bielsa to have played a big part in that.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds forward said that Victor Orta’s comments about the Spanish stopper point towards the January signing remaining at the club and that it showed great character from the keeper.
Football Insider revealed earlier this month that Leeds were trying to find a buyer to take Casilla off their hands after just six months at the club but Orta says he expects his fellow countryman to remain.
Whelan believes there has been a change of heart from the player over his own future and that manager Bielsa has influenced his decision with his expert man-management skills.
Whelan told Football Insider: “It is commitment from the player. He could easily say he had a bad end to the season, he’s not enjoying it, feeling a bit glum, down, he wants to go back home. He’s committed and ready to fight for the cause this season.
“That’s what you want from the players in the Leeds United shirt. You want them to fight for their place, to fight for the football club and their teammates. It shows good character from the player himself to get over that disappointment.
“I think there has (been a change of heart). I think that’s where the player-manager skills become involved. Marcelo Bielsa knows how to motivate them, makes them feel wanted. He gets respect from players because of his mannerisms.”
Casilla featured 19 times for Leeds last season, joining from Spanish giants Real Madrid in the winter window, taking Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s place in the starting XI.
He made a solid start at Elland Road but came under heavy fire for his error-strewn display against Derby County in the Whites’ play-off semi-final defeat to the Rams.