Marcelo Bielsa has been backed to field Gaetano Berardi against Wigan Athletic this Saturday by the Yorkshire Evening Post, as Leeds United continue to deal without midfield star Kalvin Phillips.
The boss will be without Phillips for our next two Championship matches as the 24-year-old serves a three-game suspension, having been shown a straight red card against Queens Park Rangers during our 1-0 defeat on January 18.
Phillips served the first match of his ban as we beat Millwall 3-2 on Tuesday night, against whom Bielsa trusted Mateusz Klich as the holding option behind Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez.
Bielsa moved on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion ace Ben White into the anchor role toward the end of the match with Dallas slotting in at full-back, and the YEP expect the boss will task the Seagulls product as such from the off against Wigan on Saturday.
White moving up the Elland Road pitch to start in midfield would create a space in Bielsa’s backline, which the YEP anticipate the Argentine will fill with Berardi for only the tenth time this league campaign.
Joe Urquhart supports his argument for including Berardi in the starting line-up by stating: “The one change and it’s a difficult one to make.
“Berardi in at centre-back following a calf injury, due to Ben White being required in midfield.”
Would you start Berardi at home to Wigan?
Berardi last started a second-tier fixture when we drew 3-3 with Cardiff City on December 14, and has only featured once since the collapse at home to the Bluebirds with Bielsa calling on the 31-year-old from the bench with four minutes to play against Birmingham City two weeks later.
The one-time Switzerland international followed his cameo outing at St. Andrew’s with unused substitute appearances against West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United, before being omitted from Bielsa’s matchday squad against QPR and Millwall.
Berardi did start our 1-0 FA Cup Third Round defeat at Premier League Arsenal, and registered one successful tackle from two attempts at the Emirates Stadium, per WhoScored data, along with three clearances, three interceptions and won none of his two aerial duels.
In other Leeds United news, a rarely seen player has been offered a chance to leave Elland Road and join a Europa League outfit.