Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has rubbished reports linking Tyler Roberts with a departure from Elland Road in this month’s transfer window.
Speculation has claimed that Championship side Derby are keen to take the forward on loan.
Roberts, 21, has struggled for game time this term and has only played 237 minutes of Premier League action. Indeed, he has not played in any of the last four games, featuring on the bench three times.
Speaking in Friday’s press conference, however, Bielsa stressed the Wales international‘s importance.
“Tyler has always been in my plans. I value him in the football and human aspect,” the manager told reporters (via Leeds Live).
“He has an important role inside our team. It is true he is having difficulties to have continuity, but for me is full of resources and very important for us.”
Roberts did not make the squad for Leeds’ most recent game, the 3-0 defeat to Spurs. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Crawley Town, Bielsa revealed that the forward will miss out again.
He added: “When Tyler has been available he’s always been in the 18-man squad.
“I don’t ignore there’s a 20-man squad, but I say 18 because it reiterates his importance.”
Bielsa confirmed that defenders Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente are available after injury. However, the manager will be more cautious with the latter’s return.
Meanwhile, Bielsa has a reputation for analysing his opposition’s finest details. But with Leeds the firm favourites on Sunday, the Argentine insisted that his preparations have not changed.
Asked whether he follows League One and League Two – in which Crawley play – the Argentine revealed an admiration for fans of such clubs.
Bielsa reveals lower-league research
“There’s players from Leeds United competing in those leagues and I, on a weekly basis, look at their performances, my contacts with this league,”he said.
“In this case, with a League Two team, 20 games have been played, while analysing the opponent you see many games. It’s a lot more difficult now, but in my first two years I would go to those games and watch because I enjoyed the ambience of those games.
“It’s not the same to perceive the essence of the English game at a 60,000 stadium when you go to those with 5,000. For me, it’s very attractive to see the colour, the picture of these small teams.
“It’s very easy to love a team at one of the top five teams in the world, but it’s different in the bottom five of League One, for example. Very nice to see the affection fans have for teams not as big.”
Leeds go into the game having won three of their last six Premier League fixtures. Crawley, meanwhile, sit sixth in League Two, five points off top spot.