By David Woods

13th Dec, 2019 | 7:07pm

'Staggering' – Phil Hay can hardly believe what Bielsa has said about one Leeds player

Phil Hay has said it’s “staggering” that Marcelo Bielsa said he’s never seen a player with the “engine and energy” of Leeds United youngster Robbie Gotts.

Bielsa was talking about Gotts in his press conference on Thursday. He said that he felt guilty that Gotts hadn’t made his debut, despite being on the first-team bench 30 times.

Gotts, 20, has had to watch a number of Academy players coming into the squad after him and making their debut before him, like Oliver Casey, Pascal Struijk and Mateusz Bogusz.

Talking on the latest episode of the Phil Hay Show podcast, the Athletic journalist said, “Bielsa says he feels really guilty about Gotts. If you talk to anyone at Thorp Arch he is arguably the pick of the Under-23s with the exception of Jamie Shackleton, who isn’t really an Under-23s player anymore.

“And he’s now gone 30 games as an unused sub, which must be a record for an outfield player.

“Bielsa said he’d spoken to him and said if you’re fed up with this and want to go somewhere else I’ll support you in that. I think there were some bemused looks up there. I don’t think he will leave.”

“Everyone basically says he can play wherever you put him. Bielsa was saying rather oddly that he’s never seen a player with Gotts’ energy and engine which is staggering when you think about how long he’s been around and the players he’s worked with.

“But that’s one of Gott’s big strengths, he can run all day and he’s very physically strong.

“Everyone thinks that when he gets in the team he’ll cruise it, like a lot of the other Under-23s have.”

Bielsa is a unique manager and despite putting team first, he always displays empathy with his players.

He apologised in public to Tyler Roberts after substituting him as a substitute earlier in the season.

It’s rare for a manager to say that he’ll support a player if he wants to leave but Bielsa is thinking about Gotts’ career.

Gotts has never said himself that he wants to leave, although he must be counting the number of appearances on the bench and wondering what he’s got to do to get on the pitch – especially as he’s so highly talked about at Leeds.

We hope he doesn’t go. He’s got a huge amount of talent from what we’ve seen of him in the Under-23s and someone as versatile as Gotts is a real value to any side.

And, let’s not forget, Bielsa has been about. If Gotts has the best engine that he’s ever seen, that’s some commendation.

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