Raphinha set for full Brazil debut v Uruguay one day before Leeds United clash v Southampton
Raphinha is set for his full Brazil debut against Uruguay on Friday in a decision that is likely to hand Marcelo Bielsa a Leeds United headache.
The Whites winger, 24, has starred on international duty with his national team this month, supplying two assists on his debut against Venezuela on October 8 before another impressive substitute cameo in Colombia two days later.
Now, according to Brazilian news outlet GE, Raphinha is set to be handed his first start on Friday as Brazil host Uruguay in Manaus.
That will cause concern for Bielsa and Leeds, though, with the Whites in action the following day at Southampton.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay, writing via his personal Twitter profile on Wednesday, suggests it could be tough for Raphinha to play on the south-coast on Saturday.
He said: “Full Brazil debut pending for Raphinha on Friday. Leeds have been saying since his call-up that they were confident of having him at St Mary’s for the Southampton game on Saturday. Tight turnaround.”
Asking Raphinha to start two games in two days would be tough.
As much of a physical specimen as he is, the effects of travelling around the globe and playing two high-pressure and high-intensity games cannot be underestimated.
The South America World Cup qualifying schedule has been routinely criticised by many in football as they attempt to cram in as many fixtures as possible due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months.
Raphinha has been a star performer for the Whites this season and Bielsa will be loathed to lose him for this clash.
But he may have to at least drop him to the bench for Saturday to prevent a long-term injury to the Brazilian.
With Dan James, Jack Harrison and Crysencio Summerville at the club, Bielsa certainly isn’t short on options to replace him.
But the loss of Raphinha would still be a monumental blow, and a boost for Southampton.
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