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 Leeds have been handed a double boost following early team news for the game against Newcastle this evening.
The former England keeper called it a “huge boost” for Leeds to have Kalvin Phillips and Diego Llorente back for the game
Robinson said that it will enable Marcelo Bielsa to play players in their natural positions after having to field a heavily-shuffled backline in recent games.
Robinson also said that Leeds would get a “massive boost” if Allan Saint-Maximin doesn’t start the game after recently returning from injury.
Phillips returns for Leeds after serving a one-game suspension for five yellow cards.
Steve Bruce said Saint-Maximin was unlikely to start after eight weeks out.
Bruce asked if Allan Saint-Maximin is ready to start: "I'd think it'd be too much for him but we'll see. He's been out for something like eight weeks. We've got to box a little bit clever." #NUFC #LUFC
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) January 25, 2021
Talking exclusively to MOT Leeds News Robinson said, “It’s a huge boost for Leeds to have Phillips and Llorente back. It will mean Leeds getting some sort of normal team shape back.
“It will mean players playing in their normal positions, not right-backs at centre-back, and the rest.
“The obvious switch would be Alioski out, Ayling to right-back and Llorente and Cooper as the centre-back partnership.
“I think Bielsa wants to get Llorente in as quickly as possible to establish this partnership. These will be the two players who are going to have to do it for Leeds for the rest of the season, and hopefully they can both stay fit.
“I can’t remember the last time that Leeds have had two centre-backs fit. It’s a credit to the way they’ve played and the number of points they’ve got this season.”
On Saint-Maximin, Robinson said, “When you’re in the dressing room and you hear that one of the best players isn’t playing it’s always a massive boost.
“Saint-Maximin is a huge threat for Leeds and the way Leeds play high. Saint-Maximin would have been a huge weapon to hurt Leeds on the break.
“We’ve seen other teams do it to Leeds this season. Saint-Maximin would have been a huge threat.
“He was on the bench against Villa so I imagine he’ll be in the squad and possibly play some part, but if he doesn’t start it will be much better for Leeds.”
Tonight’s game kicks off at St James’ Park at 6pm and it’s live on BT Sport.
In other Leeds United news, View: Bielsa to axe 28yo, 3 changes, Phillips at back in 3-3-1-3: Leeds strongest XI v Newcastle