Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa will not play individuals simply for the sake of giving them a first-team opportunity.
That’s according to former Leeds right-back Bryce Hosannah, who says players have to earn the chance to play under the Argentine.
Having joined Leeds as an 18-year-old back in 2017, Hosannah spent the next four years at the club, without making a senior appearance.
The full-back did have a spell on loan with Bradford last season, where he was hampered by injury, limiting him to just a handful of appearances.
Hosannah’s association with Leeds then came to a conclusive end this summer, when he joined National League side Wrexham on a permanent basis.
Now it seems that having been unable to break into the first-team at Elland Road, Hosannah has been left with no illusions as to Bielsa’s stance when it comes to giving players opportunities, or not, as the case may be.
Reflecting on his time at Leeds, and Bielsa’s view on handing minutes to players, Hosannah was quoted by Leeds Live as saying: “One thing the gaffer there has proved is he’s not going to just give games for the sake of giving games.
“If he’s going to play someone, it’s because he thinks they’re going to improve the team or because someone’s out injured, and he thinks they’re the best option.
“What I learnt is you don’t really get, there’s a phrase called pity minutes. Where because you’ve been close to it for so long, you’re rewarded with minutes. You have to earn those minutes. There are some players this season who have got a good chance.”
It feels rather hard to argue with that assessment of Bielsa from Hosannah here.
The Leeds manager has never been one to rotate his lineup if he is not forced to do so by injury, so it is not always easy for young players to force their way into the side.
That is arguably understandable, given the importance of results, and the fact that a strongest side, rather than one that is giving players opportunities, is more likely to get those all important wins.
There is a balance to be struck however, with young players needing to play to improve their game, and potentially step into the role of a key man for a side, when more established players move on, so it is good that Leeds have some youngsters who are showing signs of breaking through at Elland Road.