Helder Costa will make his first Championship start for Leeds in Saturday’s clash against Charlton at The Valley, manager Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed.
The Portuguese forward joined the Whites in an eye-catching deal this summer worth around £15million, but has had to wait patiently for his chance, having mainly been used off the bench as United have made a strong start to the season.
However, with the talismanic Pablo Hernandez set to miss out, Costa will be handed his first league start – and Bielsa said his big-name summer recruit is ready.
“Pablo Hernandez is not able to play,” Bielsa, who also hailed the talents of striker Patrick Bamford, said on Thursday. “He has a problem, a muscular problem. He felt that warming up in the last match, but today is not good.
“He’s not well enough to play.
“Helder Costa will play. He is ready, he is prepared. I cannot say I am happy because people will say I’m happy Pablo cannot play!
“I do not want to take the risk [with Hernandez], but I am happy Helder is playing.”
Bielsa praise for Shackleton
Leeds will have Adam Forshaw available again for Saturday’s match at The Valley, but Bielsa has suggested he will keep faith with youngster Jamie Shackleton, who has filled in admirably during the Scouser’s spell on the sidelines.
“Shackleton can consider himself as one of the 11 starters,” Bielsa said, before adding: “The good thing about Shackleton is, when he plays, the team works, even if I play another team.
“This is very good for one player of 20 and it’s difficult to achieve this. There are a lot of young players with skills to play in the Championship. Maybe they have played matches, maybe they play well, but being part of the 15/16 who can start is a new level and Shack is there.”
Get the latest personalised Whites products on our new TEAMtalk Leeds United shop!