Marcelo Bielsa has been quoted by Yorkshire Evening Post in his pre-Reading press conference as saying that he did not want to see Lewis Baker leave Leeds United in the January window.
The 23-year-old struggled for consistent game time at Elland Road during the first half of the season. But the playmaker chose to leave Leeds in January, returning to Chelsea, before joining Tuesday’s opponents Reading.
Now, the former Middlesbrough and Vitesse Arnhem loanee will go up against Bielsa’s men on Tuesday night. He has been in decent form for the Royals, as they look to avoid relegation to League One.
Bielsa was asked what he thought about Baker’s time at Elland Road. The Argentine boss responded by saying he never wanted the former England Under-21 captain to leave, and that he was becoming a very important player.
“I wanted him to stay in our team. I didn’t agree with the fact that he left. He didn’t need my agreement to leave but in his contract he had that option. I always had a lot of confidence in his skills,” Bielsa said.
Baker managed just 14 appearances for Leeds. He managed just five starts, only two of which were in the Championship. In those two starts, he was hooked at half-time.
That says enough about Baker’s lack of impact at Elland Road. The £20,000-a-week midfielder (Spotrac) was simply not as good as the likes of Samu Saiz, Pablo Hernandez, Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw.
His departure has seen Tyler Roberts shine in his absence. However, Baker has the chance to haunt Leeds – as the Royals face the Whites on Tuesday evening at the Madjeski Stadium.