Marcelo Bielsa mindful of avoiding Leeds United headache over EFL's loans rule

MARCELO BIELSA says he is not troubled by the restrictions of the EFL's loans rule but will be faced with a big headache at Leeds United should he forget.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 13:12 pm
LEFT OUT: FC Lorient loanee goalkeeper Illan Meslier missed the bench for Leeds United's Carabao Cup clash at Salford City with all five other Whites loanees involved. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Leeds have six players on season-long loans in the shape of Manchester City winger Jack Harrison, Brighton centre-back Ben White, Tottenham Hotspur winger Jack Clarke, FC Lorient goalkeeper Illan Meslier, Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah also winger Helder Costa with the latter’s move from Wolves becoming permanent next summer.

But EFL rules state that clubs can only name five loanees in a matchday squad meaning one of the sextet will have to miss out if all available and fit.

New Arsenal loanee striker Nketiah was left out of United's 18 for last weekend's Championship hosting of Nottingham Forest after only signing two days earlier and having not yet trained with the Whites.

Nketiah then scored on his Leeds debut in Tuesday night's 3-0 win at Salford City in the Carabao Cup for which French under-20s goalkeeper and deadline day recruit Meslier was left out of the 18 with Harrison, White, Clarke and Costa also all involved.

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Bielsa has already revealed he will name the same XI that started against Forest for Saturday's Championship clash at Wigan Athletic but Nketiah looks certain to make the bench meaning another of United's loanees will have to miss out.

Polish under-21s goalkeeper Kamil Miazek was named as United's substitute goalkeeper instead of Meslier at Salford.

Asked how much of a headache the loan rule was proving, Bielsa said: "No, not one. The headaches will be on the day that I forget about this rule and I play six players. Then we will receive a penalty and we can lose the points."

Reflecting on the competition for places within his squad, Bielsa reasoned: "We cannot play all the league with 11 players. We always are going to need one alternative for each position and that’s why we are trying to control every time.

"Then when you need to make a change maybe for injuries or for any red cards or for the difference in performance, it allows us to find a player at a good level."