Marcelo Bielsa is undoubtedly a genius, and after guiding Leeds United back to the Premier League he’s now a certified legend at Elland Road.
Ever since the Argentine arrived in Leeds there’s been a media obsession around his character, philosophy and the inner-workings of his mind with incredible stories from his time in Argentina, testaments from former players and in-depth tactical analysis always making the headlines.
One thing that is often focused on is his ability to bring through young players, and while his track record throughout his career has been exceptional with the likes of Ander Herrera, Benjamin Mendy and Aymeric Laporte all coming on leaps and bounds under the Argentine, this hasn’t been the case at Leeds.
Many United fans will have watched the ‘El Loco & Leeds’ Sky Sports special on the gaffer’s impact at Elland Road, and during that show there was a segment about how one of his main philosophies at United has been to give youngsters chances.
“At Leeds, Bielsa has shown great faith in the younger generation.” The narrator says as images of Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Tyler Roberts and Jack Clarke are shown (El Loco & Leeds Sky Sports 12:00).
Peacock-Farrell was replaced as number one by Kiko Casilla just a few months into his reign, and sold that summer, while Clarke didn’t start a single game for United after returning on loan this season.
Roberts has had a bit more of a chance, starting 12 games this term, but when you look at Bielsa’s treatment of youth, the idea of him showing great faith in the next generation has to be dispelled as a myth.
Bielsa has publicly admitted his guilt about not playing Robbie Gotts, he’s only given Mateusz Bogusz 17 minutes this season despite fans calling for him to get a chance time and time again, while Ryan Edmondson has been previously tipped to leave the club despite previously being hailed as a top talent.
The Argentine has done so many things right at Leeds, and to be honest, pointing the finger about him not giving youth enough of a chance is nit-picking, but the wider footballing world continues to claim that he’s handing out these chances when it simply isn’t true.
Bielsa’s handling of youth at Leeds simply isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.