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The national DNA of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United squad

Leeds United’s squad is dominated by homegrown talent, but entry to the Premier League has led to an expansion of the overseas element of the squad.

15 of the 28 players in the club’s first team squad this year represent countries in the United Kingdom, with the remaining 13 players moving from overseas.

England is unsurprisingly the most heavily represented nation in The Whites squad, totalling 12 players, including 4 from Leeds itself.

Kalvin Phillips is the most notorious of these, having already registered 170 games for Leeds United at the age of just 24.

After England, Spain is surprisingly the second-highest nation found in the Leeds ranks, with 4 players, including record signing Rodrigo, and Diego Llorente formerly of Real Sociedad.

In total, Marcelo Bielsa’s side is made up of 13 different nations, with only one of these, Brazil, not being a European country.

The Brazilian in question is Raphinha, a 2020 signing from Stade Rennais, for a reported fee of just under £17 million.

The majority of signings made by Leeds United in the 2020 summer window were in fact foreign imports, with 6 of the 7 major signings made by the club being international players.

Although Bielsa often rotates his team, the core of his side is normally based around home-nation players such as Dallas and Ayling in defence, as well as Bamford in attack.

Despite the £27 million fee paid for his services, Spain’s Rodrigo is yet to break into the Leeds side and displace Patrick Bamford.

Yorkshire Voice

It appears that at least for now, Bielsa is more than comfortable with using British players and supplementing this core of domestic players with foreign signings.

Some of Leeds’ most capped players so far season include Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper and Jack Harrison, all players who qualify as homegrown players under Premier League rulings.

With a strong start to the season, there is no reason for a major shakeup in recruitment at Leeds United, nor the faith placed in English players by Bielsa.

It will be interesting to see where the club recruits its players from, and whether the demographic of the squad will see any major changes.

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