Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has admitted that manager Marcelo Bielsa has been left “pulling his hair out” by the current international break.
The Whites start their Premier League campaign with a trip to reigning champions Liverpool next weekend, but will be without a number of first team players – including Phillips – for a significant amount of time in the buildup to that game as countries continue to compete in the UEFA Nations League over the coming days.
And while the Argentine saw fit to acknowledge Phillips’ call-up for the Three Lions’ by giving him a shirt from his own playing career with Newell’s Old Boys as a gift, the manager was also said to be incredibly stressed by the hectic fixture schedule for some of his players.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Phillips said: “He was pulling his hair out because there were quite a few lads going off to internationals.
“He was thinking he didn’t have enough time to prepare for Liverpool.
“So, he was pulling his hair out at the time but once he settled down he gave me a gift.
“I didn’t really know what shirt it was, I just thought it was a random polo T shirt.”
Phillips also pledged to give Bielsa his first England shirt as a token of his gratitude.
This is classic Bielsa.
We’re all fully aware of just how meticulous he is, and the prospect of going into the first game of the season – especially against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds – having failed to get his team out on the training pitch for any significant amount of time will no doubt be playing havoc with his routine.
If there is one thing that we know about the Argentine, however, it is that he drills everything into his players down to the Nth degree.
The lessons taken from the South American are not the kind to be forgotten in a week or two, and you would hope that given a couple of days out on the training pitch, everything should click into place for Leeds through sheer muscle memory alone.
In other Leeds United news, the club has moved two players on without any formal announcement.