BBC Sport’s Adam Pope has revealed that Leeds United star Raphinha “should be fit” for this weekend’s Premier League clash against Norwich City.
What’s the story?
The Brazilian hobbled off during his side’s 1-1 draw with Wolves last weekend, and there no doubt would have been real fears about how long he could potentially be out for.
The former Rennes man himself moved quickly to allay those doubts after that match, and while he was not involved in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat against Arsenal, he looks set to be good for the trip to the Canaries on Sunday.
Writing on Twitter after the game against the Gunners, Pope said: “Shackleton & Raphinha should be fit for Norwich. No injuries forced the substitutions. Klich for Forshaw as MB felt he’d take advantage of the offensive play in the 1st half. Gelhardt on for Roberts because he wanted to try out Joffy with Rodrigo.”
Huge boost for Bielsa
Make no mistake about it, Raphinha has emerged as one of Leeds’ best players, if not their best.
He ranked fourth for goals and first for his assists among his teammates last season, and his willingness to take players on and try and make things happen for his side was reflected by him averaging the most dribbles of any Leeds player with 1.9 per game.
Raphinha’s displays had Leeds teammate Patrick Bamford hailing him after the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace back in February, with the England international telling Sky Sports: “I think, to be honest, he has been a steal for Leeds. I am surprised. As soon as he came in, you saw him in training, you know sometimes with players whether they are good or they are top class, and he really was. He stood out straightaway.
“I am surprised that bigger teams, more established Premier League teams I should say, haven’t taken a punt on him because he really is someone special, and he is young.”
Given Leeds’ wretched start to the Premier League season – they’ve managed just one win all campaign – having Raphinha available for a crunch game against fellow strugglers Norwich is a massive boost for the White.
Those three words that he “should be fit” will undoubtedly leave many supporters around Elland Road absolutely buzzing.
Meanwhile, this Leeds star has given Bielsa a headache…