The Athletic’s Phil Hay has stated he has a ‘sneaky feeling’ that Raphinha could play for Leeds United on the weekend despite having just started for Brazil in South America.
On Friday morning (UK time), the Leeds winger was stealing the show in the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus. Indeed, the 24-year-old scored twice on his first start for his nation as they beat Uruguay 4-1.
With Leeds’ next game set to take place at 3pm on Saturday, it seems unlikely that Raphinha will be able to feature against Southampton.
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However, while speaking on The Phil Hay Show, Hay referred to the winger as a ‘machine’ and said he could see him ‘turning up’ for Marcelo Bielsa’s men regardless of the travel.
He said: “Raphinha being Raphinha, he’s such a machine that you could see him just turning up and scoring eight goals in the way that he does.
“But I think Bielsa’s view on this is that if he is fatigued, and if he’s not right and if there’s a risk of injury – which there genuinely might be in this case because of how little turnaround time he’s had – it does make no sense.”
“I’ve got a sneaky feeling he’ll play as well, I think he just might.”
TIF Thoughts on Raphinha and Leeds United…
It seems like a longshot that Raphinha would be available for the game, but Premier League teams seem willing to go to great lengths to get their stars back from international duty at the moment.
Indeed, Tottenham Hotspur have supposedly put Brazilian Emerson Royal on a private jet to fly him to England in time for Spurs’ next game – though that match against Newcastle United will take place on Sunday.
Still, after scoring six goals and nine assists in the league during his first season with the club, Raphinha has proven himself to be a key member of the Leeds team. Surely they’ll do what they can to see him involved on the weekend, even if only from the bench.