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Attacking duo included: The Leeds United XI we expect to see against Manchester United in Perth tomorrow

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After starting pre-season with two wins last week, Leeds United are continuing to prepare for the new season in Australia, where the bulk of Marcelo Bielsa’s side flew out to at the weekend.

Leeds have split their squad in two, with players like Helder Costa, Mateusz Klich and Ezgjan Alioski left in West Yorkshire to prepare for the season at Thorp Arch. Other senior players are in Australia, though, and will soon be joined by Bielsa for another pre-season fixture.

The first of two fixtures in Australia comes tomorrow in Perth, when Leeds meet fierce rivals Manchester United at the Optus Stadium. Given the fairly small number of first-team players Bielsa has flown Down Under, Leeds’ side will have a familiar look and most will expect 90 minutes against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

With that in mind, we take a look at the XI we are expecting to see Bielsa field tomorrow:

Kiko Casilla is the only senior goalkeeper selected in the travelling squad, which makes it likely that the Spaniard will retain the gloves after playing against York City last week.

And, ahead of him will be a similar unit to the one that took to the field at Bootham Crescent; Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi both started at centre-back that night, where Alfie McCalmont joined them. However, with Kalvin Phillips in the travelling party, expect to see him drop into the third centre-back role.

That allows Barry Douglas and Stuart Dallas to push forward in Bielsa’s 3-3-1-3 system – which he has preferred so far in pre-season – with Adam Forshaw the midfield pivot between the two.

Jack Harrison and Pablo Hernandez were both highly influential in the 5-0 win over York last week from the wide areas, scoring three of the five goals and playing a part in others. They will take up places on the wing with the likes of Costa and Jack Clarke back in Leeds still.

Bielsa experimented with Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford both in the starting XI last week, and that should continue against Man United. Leeds lacked a clinical edge last season, and you feel Bielsa will look to combat that by getting both on the field as much as possible next season.

Now is the time for experimenting, and Roofe will likely take up the No.10 role whilst Bamford leads the line. Of course, that’s interchangeable, and we may even see Pablo Hernandez come central and Roofe shift out wide. That flexibility in the Leeds attack should be exciting to watch in tomorrow’s friendly and beyond.


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Attacking duo included: The Leeds United XI we expect to see against Manchester United in Perth tomorrow

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