This international break saw two Leeds United players earn debuts for their respective nations. 19-year-old midfielder Romario Vieira came on as a substitute for Guinea-Bissau against Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, winger Hadi Sacko made his Mali bow.
The Leeds star has represented France throughout youth level in his career, but recently decided to pursue an international future with Mali.
Sacko came on for Mali in the 1-1 friendly draw with Japan and the consensus in his new international homeland was positive.
Footmali commended his form as a second-half substitute. The report stated Sacko impressed in both his offensive and defensive work on the right-hand side of midfield. The phrase ‘impatient to see him again’ highlights the buzz around Sacko for Mali, who will now hope to become a regular at international level.
The same cannot be said about his current experience at Leeds United. Sacko has not been in good form at Elland Road recently. Fans have become increasingly frustrated at his poor performances and lethargic body language. Often Sacko has been the talk of social media, with Leeds fans wondering why his form at the club has suffered such a dramatic dip.
Last season, whilst on loan at the club, Sacko did enough to earn a permanent deal. On current form, there is no chance Leeds would have pursued a long-term agreement with the 24-year-old former Bordeaux star.
Getting away with Mali might have been the best thing for Sacko this week. Hopefully his time with the national team can spark some confidence in his ability again, as Leeds are currently seeing a shadow of the man they had on loan last season.
If playing for Mali can give Sacko some impetus and self-belief he could be like a new signing when Leeds return to Championship action this weekend.
Time will tell if such a benefit is the case.