Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa explains Eunan O'Kane, Vurnon Anita and Caleb Ekuban omissions

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa has revealed he opted for youth over experience when deciding upon his final squad at Elland Road believing it to be more beneficial to help develop younger players on the Whites books.

Thursday, 16th August 2018, 8:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th August 2018, 9:10 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

The Argentine was questioned over the future of players such as Eunan O'Kane, Caleb Ekuban and Vurnon Anita during his pre-Rotherham press conference on Thursday.

The trio failed to feature during pre-season and haven't been handed squad numbers by the 63-year-old for the Championship campaign ahead having been heavily involved last season.

Bielsa though has now revealed that it was the option of youth that stole his heart when putting pen to paper on the final touches of his squad for his assault on the second tier of English football.

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"When a professional player has a history as a football player, for example [Vurnon] Anita, [Eunan] O'Kane and [Caleb] Ekuban have history, one way to respect them is to keep them inside the team if they have the possibility to play in another position," Bielsa revealed.

"If we have one position and three players it's very difficult that the third player in the position gets time to play. I saw every game and every minute that they played last year and I also listened to the opinion of the club.

"If you haven't trained a player it's a deficit to make a decision. We then built a group where we have two players for each position and if we had acted in another way it would have been counterproductive.

"For example I have [Luke] Ayling, [Stuart] Dallas and [Jamie] Shackleton, because Shackleton is a youngster who has time to develop in his career, but I can't do the same thing with Ayling, Dallas and Anita.

"I would be doing something not very good to one of the three players, so when you take decisions you have to transmit them at the right moment and I think this is an honest behaviour.

"Of course I can make mistakes but I don't want to make any mistakes. For example I can say that because of Dallas' injury it could have been a good thing to have Anita with us, it would have been better for me but I think it would be unfair to keep a player with us if he doesn't have the possibility to get the time he deserves."