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Behind-the-scenes Leeds United help softens the blow of absent stars vs Brentford


Laughs over breakfast, heart-to-hearts in the gym, encouragement from the touchline or knocks on the head coach’s door. Leeds United’s sidelined leadership council still have a huge role to play in this decisive week.

Rodrigo is the only one of the seven leaders in the squad to have been available for all 11 of Jesse Marsch’s matches thus far. The other six have been in and out of the squad with injuries or suspensions, but three remain for the last dance on Sunday.

Patrick Bamford will hope to make it four, but Rodrigo, Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips are the last men standing. Luke Ayling is suspended while Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw are injured.

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Their roles are still crucial around the training ground for Marsch, who also wants the next tier below that septet to step up to the mark in making sure everyone has the right mindset. He said: “I’ve already said the leadership council is Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Luke Ayling, Adam Forshaw, Rodrigo, Patrick Bamford and Stuart Dallas.

“Five of those players have been injured. It’s reduced our leadership core on the pitch to less and less and less.

“I’ve challenged all those guys to be around the pitch, have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening with the group, be positive, to bring the kind of energy to our training ground every day to make sure everybody knows in a difficult moment we’re good, we got this.

“Then it also means their ability to invest and challenge some of the other players, and I went through it could be Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Raphinha, Dan James, Klichy (Mateusz Klich), it could be a lot of the different guys that still have big experiences and can still provide their voice, their personality, their confidence in what we are right now.

“Then also, to lead the younger guys, to help them understand how to be strong. My idea of leadership is not just the person in this role, it’s about the entire group accessing their qualities, their abilities to be the best they can be and the best versions of themselves in the most difficult times. That’s where we are.”





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