Leeds United have been handed a potentially huge boost ahead of their Premier League run-in.
In a recent post on Twitter, The Athletic’s Phil Hay provided a number of updates on Leeds United’s stricken first-team squad members, after the Whites suffered a series of setbacks in the 3-2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening.
However, one player who was a surprise absence from the trip to Molineux was Raphinha, with Hay revealing after the game that the right-winger was unavailable for selection due to illness – something that could subsequently see the 25-year-old miss out on Brazil’s World Cup Qualifying fixtures against Chile and Bolivia on March 25 and March 30.
In his tweet, the journalist said: “Raphinha – could miss Brazil duty with [a viral illness].”
While it is never pleasant to learn that a player has fallen ill, especially if it rules them out of representing their country, considering the fact that Leeds essentially have eight fixtures in which they must position themselves as far away from the relegation zone as possible coming up over the next two months, the fact Raphinha could be ruled out of a trip to Brazil is sure to have left Jesse Marsch buzzing.
Indeed, over his 27 Premier League appearances so far this season, the £36m-rated forward has arguably been the Whites’ most important player, scoring nine goals, registering three assists and creating nine big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.7 shots and making 2.1 key passes per game.
These returns have seen the £63k-per-week sensation average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.97, ranking him as the club’s third-best performer in the top flight of English football.
As such, the possibility of Raphinha remaining at Thorp Arch over the international break would undoubtedly come as a huge boost to Marsch and his side, as, by not making the trip to Brazil, not only would the winger be afforded a well-earned rest, it would also significantly reduce the chances of the 25-year-old picking up an injury, or even just returning to Leeds in a fatigued state at the end of the month.