Dan James faces being bombed out of Leeds United squad by Bielsa after incident v Aston Villa
Daniel James could face being bombed out of the Leeds United side by Marcelo Bielsa after he seemed to refuse to go off against Aston Villa last night.
As Leeds searched for a late winner in their 3-3 draw at Villa Park on 9 February, Bielsa wanted to substitute James off and replace him with Tyler Roberts.
Adam Forshaw replaced Mateusz Klich in the 85th minute with no issues but as Roberts stood on the sideline waiting to come on, BT Sport’s cameras caught James looking across at the bench with a perplexed look on his face.
It seemed as though James was refusing to take Bielsa’s orders and come off the pitch to be replaced by Roberts.
Now, from a fans’ perspective, this is something we liked seeing because James had scored twice against Villa in what was easily his best performance since joining us from Manchester United in the summer.
However, from Bielsa’s point of view and from a professional view, refusing to be substituted off and going against your manager’s orders simply isn’t on.
Bielsa has not shown much mercy to players who’ve defied him in the past.
Pablo Hernandez’s petulant reaction to being substituted off against Leicester in November 2020 led to him being dropped from the squad by Bielsa.
Pontus Jansson’s resistance against Bielsa saying Leeds should allow Aston Villa a goal in 2018/19 to make up for a controversial goal of their own also led to him eventually being sold.
Samuel Saiz, also in Leeds’ first season with Bielsa in charge, was sold ahead of Bielsa’s first January transfer window because he wasn’t too happy living in West Yorkshire.
Bielsa isn’t someone you want to cross. He demands 100 per cent application and any deviation from that can see you dropped, bombed out of the squad or even sold.
James did look as though he refused to come off but if he did, he needs to apologise immediately to his manager and nip this in the bud before it becomes an issue.
In other Leeds United news, an ex-Premier League referee reacted to a major incident instantly in the draw at Villa.