Leeds United’s medical department should stop Raphinha playing for the club for fitness reasons.
That’s according to former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who says that Leeds reliance on the winger could be pushing him too far.
Raphinha was substituted in Leeds’ 1-1 draw at Newcastle earlier this month, in which the Brazilian had opened the scoring, with the 24-year-old limping as he came off the pitch.
Despite that, the winger again started in the 2-1 defeat to West Ham the following weekend, and again scored before being substituted.
Speaking after that clash with the Hammers, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa revealed that the 24-year-old is struggling with a hip injury he suffered in that game at Newcastle.
Now, it seems that Agbonlahor believes that Raphinha’s importance to Leeds is forcing him to play through his injury, and that the club’s medical department need to step in to prevent that happening.
Speaking to Football Insider about Raphinha, the former England international said: “I feel that he probably wasn’t right to play the game [against West Ham]. He went off against Newcastle United and he probably just wants to play.
“He needs the physio department to pull him out and maybe Leeds are so reliant on him they need to play with an injury.
“Daniel James, Jack Harrison and Rodrigo, you don’t see too many goals coming from them. He’s that important to the team that they’re playing them him in injured. Raphinha’s one of the best wingers in the league.”
This does seem to be a rather situation for Leeds to in with regards to Raphinha.
Leeds have yet to win in the league this season, and Raphinha does look to be one of those with the potential to change that, so you can understand the temptation to keep using him.
However, that is something that with his injury, could risk keeping the winger out long term, which would be a bigger loss than resting him for a couple of games now.
Another issue to consider though, is Raphinha’s call-up by Brazil for the October international break, which could put a spanner in the works, with Leeds unable to influence how the winger is used at international level.