Marcelo Bielsa says: I did not want Cody Drameh to leave Leeds United for Cardiff City, but clearly I calculated his development wrongly - Yorkshire Post 14/1/22


Marcelo Bielsa did not want Cody Drameh to leave on loan this month, and sees the fact he wanted to as a reason to question himself.

By Stuart Rayner

The 20-year-old right-back asked to leave Leeds United on loan for more game-time, and they have allowed him to join Cardiff City.

Drameh was effectively fourth in the pecking order at right-back at Elland Road but of those above him, first-choice Luke Ayling has been used at centre-back in the last five Premier League games, Stuart Dallas covers many positions and Jamie Shackleton is not expected to play again this month.

Drameh has been involved of three of Leeds's last four matches in all competitions.

The coach did not want to keep a player who did not want to stay, and transfer decision-makers, led by sporting director Victor Orta, agreed.

"I didn't think he needed to play games elsewhere," said Bielsa. "He was a player that was very necessary with all the absences we have. but he preferred to go and play outside of Leeds.

"In a situation where the opportunity for the youngsters has increased, clearly, and in this case Drameh would prefer to experiment outside of our team I consider that position valid and I don't think it makes sense to oppose him.

"What I imagined as a great opportunity, he imagined it in a different way and it's more important what he thinks than what I think.

"I don't think it's convenient to impose on a situation where he thinks it's best to go."

Bielsa says there is a chance Pascal Struijk, Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo could return from injury at West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday, and Junior Firpo has recovered from the dizziness he suffered when the sides met in the FA Cup seven days earlier. That still leaves Shackleton, Liam Cooper, Charlie Cresswell, Tyler Roberts, Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt injured, and Diego Llorente suspended.

Drameh's attitude, mirrored in other young players, has led Bielsa to question his methods, even his trademark "Murderball" sessions.

"A lot of the young players who accompany the first team have made their desire to play in the first team clear," he said.

"Evidently what I propose to them is not what they desire so I don't criticise that, I don't condemn it and it doesn't disappoint me but clearly I calculated things wrongly because they have what I consider a great opportunity. There are very few teams who have had so many youngsters in their squad in the Premier League and those who have benefitted from that position prefer to abandon the club looking for another type of competition.

"Evidently what I imagine as a great possibility, they don't.

"Perhaps I overvalue the fact you're in a 20-man squad in the best league in the world.

"When a player within the 20 (-man matchday squad) plays once a week against the starting team, that competition is so big, so marked - it's described as "Murderball" - but for their footballing development players say this is no longer good for me."

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