Paul Robinson shares Dan James and Raphinha prediction ahead of Leeds United v Liverpool clash
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United.
Paul Robinson predicts Dan James to start life at Leeds United on the bench against Liverpool, but believes he could eventually work his way in and change Raphinha’s role.
James, 23, arrived from Manchester United on deadline day for £25million [BBC], and is in line to make his debut at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the clash against Jurgen Klopp’s side in West Yorkshire, former Leeds goalkeeper Robinson has delivered his verdict on where the Wales international is likely to line up alongside the other attacking talents in Marcelo Bielsa’s squad.
“I don’t see where he fits in if Jack Harrison or Raphinha play in the system that he plays,” Robinson told MOT Leeds News.
“I can’t see either of them playing in the middle unless he changes the system. Raphinha is not a central midfielder and he’s not the type of player who will put in the work backwards or has the defensive capabilities that the manager will want.
“I think the only way the three of them can play together is if they change the system. If he plays [Patrick] Bamford up top and then plays Harrison, James and Raphinha in behind him, with Raphinha in a central role behind Bamford, and Harrison and James wide, I think that’s the only way they can play all three of them together, and then you play Kalvin Phillips with another holding midfielder. Whether that’s [Pascal] Struijk, [Mateusz] Klich or [Robin] Koch, or Stuart Dallas, whoever that holding midfielder is, I think that’s the only way the three of them can play together.
“At the moment, the way they’re playing, I don’t see him making the changes yet. I think James is obviously a player he really wanted, he has for a long time, his pace, his energy and engine up and down the field, it’s exactly the type of player Bielsa wants.
“Whether he comes into the side this weekend, I don’t think he does because Bielsa likes to give his players time to adjust to what they do in training. I think with the international break as well, I think it’s too short a turnaround. I think he will be on the bench, but I don’t think he starts this weekend.
“But I think if he [Raphinha] gets freedom in that [number 10] role, he can cause teams a lot of problems, we know what a quality player he is with his creativity. That’s the only other role he can play in that team, he’s good coming in off the right-hand side, but I think in behind Bamford he can play that number 10 role, should he [Bielsa] change the system.”
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