Marcelo Bielsa has explained to his pre-Bristol City press conference – as quoted by Leeds Live – why he dropped January recruit Ian Poveda from the 18-man squad to face Brentford and Nottingham Forest.
Poveda, 20, joined Leeds in the January window on a free transfer from Manchester City – after managing just one senior appearance under Pep Guardiola. With his contract at The Etihad expiring, he moved to Elland Road under Bielsa.
He was seen as a replacement for Jack Clarke, who returned to parent club Tottenham after just three outings during the first half of the campaign. It is believed Leeds saw off interest from Serie A side Torino to land the England Under-20 cap.
Poveda remained an unused substitute against Millwall and Wigan, but was completely omitted from the squad against Forest and Brentford – with Jean-Kevin Augustin included. Bielsa explained his absence.
“I always organise the substitutes with two defenders, two midfielders and two strikers. One defender from the centre, the other from the side. Midfielders, one more defensive, the other more offensive,” Bielsa said.
“The two strikers, one centre forward, one who attacks on the sides. If we are in good condition to do this I respect these things, if not I adapt it. I always chose the players for this particular match that are in the best conditions.”
TBR’s view – Poveda overlooked for Stevens, how good is he?
Judging on his Under-23 outings, Poveda will need time to get up to speed with Bielsa’s tactics. There is enormous ability in terms of technique, but match sharpness and strength are lacking.
Jordan Stevens has been included ahead of Poveda – with Bielsa stating he likes one attacking wide player on his bench. Poveda has enormous talent, but fans calling for him to start need to be more patient.