BBC Sport pundit Noel Whelan has urged Marcelo Bielsa to overlook Adam Forshaw if the Championship season resumes, even should the Leeds United midfielder be considered fit to feature.
All football in the UK is currently on hold until, at least, April 30 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has so far seen more than 6,650 people test positive and the number of deaths rise above 330.
The rate at which the virus is spreading has led to the UK entering a lockdown with movement restricted to “absolutely necessary” travel to and from work, to shop for essential goods, and to fulfil any medical or care needs.
The situation naturally has sparked doubt over if, rather than when, the domestic season will be able to continue, especially after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics became the latest major event to be postponed.
Should things ease over the next few weeks to a point the Championship season can resume, Whelan is adamant that Bielsa cannot consider Forshaw for action no matter the midfielder’s situation after he stepped up his rehabilitation from hip surgery with light work on an exercise bike.
“I think he’s out until next season,” Whelan told Football Insider. “There is no reason to rush him back and he needs to make sure he is 100%.
“We have got this far without him – even though he is a fantastic player and would be a bonus to the squad. It is primary he gets himself ready without any more setbacks from this injury and gets as fit as he possibly can in preparation.
“He should be thinking about the start of next season. Getting his body and his mind in place after a difficult season for Adam. He started so well. Right now, concentrate on getting yourself healthy, fit and looking forward to a good pre-season.
“The players that have played the majority of the season are the ones that need to be ready for whenever some decision is made.”
Should Bielsa overlook Forshaw if the season resumes?
Yes, let Forshaw focus on 2020/21
No, Bielsa should focus on 2019/20
Forshaw did indeed begin the 2019/20 season well with starting roles in our opening six Championship fixtures, though the former Middlesbrough man has not been seen on the field since the 1-0 defeat at Charlton in September.
Since then, Mateusz Klich has continued his relentless run of appearances, while Pablo Hernandez joined the Poland international in a central role with Helder Costa and Jack Harrison playing out wide.
Those four players have also contributed to a vast majority of our goals, with Hernandez netting the side’s second-most strikes (six) and penning the second-most assists (six).
Only Harrison (seven) has more assists than our Spanish wizard, while also boasting five goals to his name, which is the third-most ahead of Klich, Luke Ayling and Ezgjan Alioski (four).
Clearly, we can cope without Forshaw, but having him on the bench could be of comfort to Bielsa if the Argentine believes the £3.6m-rated ace is fit to do so.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa is considering a summer swoop for a sought-after £12.6m-rated Premier League ace.