Leeds United's Raphinha biggest loser in Premier League vs Brazil via FIFA madness - David Prutton

You can’t help but feel for Leeds United’s Raphinha in the midst of all this Premier League against Brazil via FIFA madness, writes YEP columnist David Prutton.

Saturday, 11th September 2021, 9:42 am
Leeds United winger Raphinha. Pic: Getty

In what was supposed to be a huge moment of his career by getting called up for his nation along with the honour it will have been for him personally – not to mention his friends and family back home – the whole thing just descended into pure chaos.

Any players I have ever come across who play at international level are all extremely passionate about representing their countries but the issue is that for the South American players you’re talking about travelling to the other side of the world.

With the madness of the football calendar it is hard enough at the best of times to work out the arrangements but throw in a pandemic into the fold and it becomes an impossible task.

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Asking clubs to release players to then make them quarantine so they’re missing an extended period of time is entering murky waters – it’s difficult because you can sympathise with both sides of view.

And that is before you even get into all of the complications of asking a professional sportsperson to halt what they’re doing physically for an extended amount of time.

The one thing I can’t get my head around is the Brazilian Football Confederation wanting to stand in the way of their own national team members from playing football for their clubs.

I can understand being upset about the fact they haven’t turned up to represent the country and wanting some form of compensation but this is the bread and butter for them. It’s the day job. Surely they have run the risk of damaging relationships with their own players now after making a pointless stand and then relenting.

We have seen the England national team try to produce a real club feel for all of the players who get called up to St George’s Park – we saw it throughout the Euros. Going after your own just strikes me as utterly bizarre and leaves a little bit of a bad taste and that won't disappear because they pulled the plug.

Preparations will have been disrupted this week and it can’t be good for any of the players to be caught in the middle of all this not knowing whether they will or won’t be in the squads this weekend.

Imagine seeing those health officials in Brazil storming onto the pitch during the Argentina game this week and greeting it with complete normality like all of us did – it just sums up the world over after the last couple of years.

It was great to see Patrick Bamford get a long-awaited England call. It is a wonderful achievement for him personally to have got that cap and no-one, no matter what anyone ever says about him, can take it away now.

I think we all continue to be hugely impressed by Kalvin Phillips – almost to the point where there is hardly anything left to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s a huge credit to himself and Marcelo Bielsa that a year into his international career he has essentially become undroppable for Gareth Southgate.

We’re back to league action this weekend and you have to say Liverpool represents a very difficult challenge.

I, obviously, have a certain fondness for Leeds but I write this without any hint of bias... I think every football fan looking at what games are on TV this weekend will be looking at Sunday and saying they will have a bit of that action.

It is two huge clubs going head-to-head in front of a sold out raucous crowd – yes, please, sign us all up.

We’ll see what Dan James can bring should he feature at all and we’ll see how Leeds get on trying to take it to a team that have been – alongside Manchester City – one of the best in the country over the last few years.

Elland Road will be a phenomenal place to be. The atmosphere is going to be stunning. It will be ‘proper’, as we like to say, and I can’t wait for it.