Gjanni Alioksi has said that Leeds United winger Raphinha has surprised him by getting back and defending, as well as proving deadly in attack. 

He said that he “didn’t believe” that Raphinha could run so much and added that he’s a “fantastic ” player who has been quickly accepted in the Leeds dressing room.

Talking in an interview on the BBC Alioski also said Raphinha and Jack Harrison would be key to picking up the three points against Leicester on Sunday.

“On the sides we can take advantage, there is space on the sides,” Alioski said. “It’s easy to say but we need to show it on the pitch. If we go there with confidence and play our game, to try and open something from the sides and create chances.

“It’s good to speak about them [Raphinha and Harrison] now. They’re players that can go one against one, they have good feet and are quick, intelligent players.

“You see in the last game, the wingers can decide the game.

“Raphinha has been accepted quickly into the team, he’s a really good person, he’s a fantastic player.

“I didn’t believe he could run a lot, but he defends, he pushes forward. He plays with a lot of heart.”

Plenty in the engine room

Raphinha is quickly becoming the star player at Leeds after his £17m move from Rennes in the summer.

Their loss looks like a massive gain for Leeds.

We loved seeing Raphinha back, almost on the touchline, defending for Leeds against Newcastle in midweek.

It’s exactly what Marcelo Bielsa wants and demands from his players and it bodes really well for his future at Elland Road.

Raphinha seems to have it all – composure in front of goal, an eye for a killer pace and plenty of stamina.

The fact that he’s been accepted in the dressing room straight away is another great sign.

Alioski himself wouldn’t be drawn on his future in the interview.

He was linked strongly with a move to Galatasaray this week but BBC journalist Pope said “he wants to stay” and a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post said reports of him agreeing a deal with Gala were wide of the mark.

That’s good news for Leeds and we hope that he can agree terms on a new deal soon.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Difference this time… Vardy is out’ – Lawrenson predicts winner in Leeds clash v Leicester

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