We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United 

Paul Robinson has said that Marcelo Bielsa has had to defend Kiko Casilla, in the face of growing criticism from fans.

Many fans want to see the goalkeeper leave the club after a string of poor performances and a ban last season for racist abuse.

However, Casilla is still the only senior back-up at the club and Robinson has said Bielsa can’t criticise a player he will have to rely on this season.

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Talking exclusively to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said, “I think Bielsa had to defend Casilla and react like that because he hasn’t got any other options.

“He’s been left in a situation where he’s got Meslier who’s out now with COVID and we don’t know how long he’s going to be out for.

“Kiko didn’t perform very well against Crawley but saying that he had a decent game against Brighton, although he didn’t have a lot to do.

“But, for a manager, it’s difficult to criticise a player when he needs him. He’s not going to criticise Casilla if he needs him to play the next week.

“If Casilla is to stick around and it looks like he will, the worst thing a manager could do is throw him under the bus.

“You saw Gareth Southgate do it on a different level for England, giving Jordan Pickford a boost when he said he was number one. His performances have got better since then.

“It’s clever from Bielsa and it’s the right thing to do if you’re going to have to rely on a player going forward.”

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The Leeds fans worship Bielsa and are normally on the same page. The Casilla issue is one of the first splits with the fanbase.

It’s tough to see the fan opinion changing after everything that’s happened.

That puts extra pressure on the goalkeeper, though, with any mistake likely to be seized on and scrutinised.

in other Leeds United news, ‘I’m told’ – Adam Pope delivers update on Joe Gelhardt after striker missing since Christmas

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