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Leeds: Noel Whelan highlights Raphinha’s importance

Leeds: Noel Whelan highlights Raphinha’s importance - Leeds United

Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has stressed the importance of Raphinha’s availability to face Manchester United this weekend.

The Whites host Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon, looking to kick on from their impressive recent results against Manchester City and Liverpool. There are fitness concerns over Raphinha ahead of the game, however, with Marcelo Bielsa seemingly ruling him out during his press conference on Friday.

There is still time for the Brazilian to prove his fitness on Saturday, though, and him being available would clearly be a huge boost for the Yorkshire outfit.

Whelan desperate for Raphinha to face Man United

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan claimed that the 24-year-old’s availability holds the key to Sunday’s game, with Leeds’ wingers tussles against Manchester United’s full-backs a mouthwatering prospect. The former Whites striker said:

“They’ve got fantastic full-backs in Shaw and Wan Bissaka.

“We know Shaw’s had a turn in fortunes the way he is playing. Meanwhile, Wan Bissaka is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

“It’d be a great challenge for all the wingers against two fantastic full-backs.

“For Raphinha and for Leeds United, I think it’s massively important. We saw the other night how much we missed him.

“We desperately need Raphinha to be fit if we’re going to penetrate and hurt them at the back, that’s for sure.”

Transfer Tavern take

Raphinha has arguably been Leeds’ best player this season, enjoying 12 goal contributions in the league and being hailed for his ‘spontaneous‘ qualities by Bielsa, and he has the quality to the scare the life out of Shaw if he is fit to feature on Sunday.

The Englishman has enjoyed an excellent campaign of his own, but he would have to think twice about his attacking forays with the 24-year-old looking to pounce at the other end.

It looks more likely that Helder Costa will again start, however, so there will be pressure on him to fill the Raphinha-shaped void against the Red Devils.

In other news, a pundit has talked up the idea of Leeds signing an experienced defender this summer. Find out who it is here.

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Article title: Leeds: Noel Whelan highlights Raphinha’s importance

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