Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has lauded an “outrageous” moment from Raphinha in his side’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham, saying it sums him up as a player.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were beaten at the London Stadium on Monday evening, leaving them in 11th place in the table with 11 matches remaining.
It has been a strong first season back in the top flight for Leeds, but four defeats in their last five league outings suggests they may just be running out of steam a little.
Whelan hails Raphinha
Raphinha has arguably been Leeds’ standout player so far this season, chipping in with five goals and assists apiece, wreaking havoc from out wide with his pace and trickery.
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Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan lauded the 24-year-old, highlighting one acrobatic attempt against the Hammers as proof of his unique brilliance as a player, as well as praising his mentality:
“Raphinha was very quiet in the first 20 or 30 minutes of the game. Second half, when you need to show a bit of fight, we know he’s got that. It’s one of the thing things that I love so much about him. He gets upset by defeats. You can see that they hurt him.
“He was trying everything. The overhead kick that took a deflection, I don’t think any other player would have tried that in the Leeds United side.
“It goes to show the confidence and the belief in his own abilities that he has to try something as outrageous as that. It nearly came off.
“He’s one of these players that rise to the occasion and stands up to the fight. When you’re 2-0 down, his head doesn’t go down to the ground, his body language isn’t bad.
“He’s one of these players that wants to really fight and get something out of the game. We need these players at Leeds.
“But he gets that opportunity and he knows himself that he should have scored. Anywhere to the right or the left, it’s a goal. We’ve seen him bend them in two or three times this season.”
Transfer Tavern take
There is no doubt that Bielsa will be desperate to keep hold of Raphinha beyond this season, with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United rumoured to be interested in signing him.
The Brazilian brings so much quality to this Leeds side and losing him would undoubtedly hamper their chances of building on this promising season and kicking on further in 2021/22 and beyond.
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