Football journalist Conor McGilligan has claimed that Leeds United should drop Raphinha for their upcoming game against West Ham United.
Leeds host the Hammers in their next game as they seek their first Premier League win of the season. Considering the Brazilian has earned plenty of praise over the past 12 months, you would expect Raphinha’s name to be one of the first on the teamsheet.
However, McGilligan has claimed that Marcelo Bielsa should potentially play Dan James instead as the Welsh winger will provide more defensive cover to help deal with West Ham’s attacking full-backs.
While speaking on the One Leeds Fan Channel, he explained himself, saying: “Leeds have to be so defensively aware and it could be something where Leeds are able to utilise Dan James, even if we have an ever-present right side.
“And it might sound crazy, but even if Raphinha is fit, the defensive capabilities of Dan James, which was shown against Fulham, which has been shown so far against the likes of Newcastle – he’s very, very good in that aspect of getting back, tracking back, and his pace is such a massive factor in him being able to do that with such efficiency.”
“For Daniel James just as that defensive midfielder, and how good he is at recovery, to be starting regardless of even if Raphinha is fit, which might sound absolutely crazy – it’s definitely something we have to tactically look at.”
TIF Thoughts on Dan James, Raphinha, and Leeds…
Looking at Leeds’ lowly position in the league table, it would make sense for Bielsa to try and change things up if he wants to claim that first win of the season.
James showed great commitment to the team in midweek when he played despite having just been with his partner as she gave birth to their child on the same day. It’s clear to see why McGilligan thinks James is prepared to put the effort in for his side.
Should Marcelo Bielsa start Dan James over Raphinha?
Even still, Raphinha has been a crucial player for Leeds already this season, scoring a wonderful goal in the club’s recent draw against Newcastle United – so it would be a big call for Bielsa to drop him.
Perhaps the Leeds manager will find a way to fit both men into his team.