SUMMER recruits Helder Costa and Ben White both boarded the plane for Leeds United’s pre-season friendly against Cagliari Calcio in Sardinia tonight, but several stars were left at home with the Whites also playing Girona in Manchester this afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites will continue their build-up to the new Championship campaign with two friendlies today with Leeds taking on Serie A side Cagliari Calcio at Sardegna Arena (7.30pm) and a Whites XI also tackling recently relegated Spanish Segunda Division side Girona at Manchester City’s training ground.
Marquee summer signing Costa and new Brighton loanee centre-back White were the two notable big names flying out to Sardinia on Friday afternoon along with Polish international midfielder Mateusz Klich and Tottenham Hotspur recruit and now Whites loanee Jack Clarke.
All four missed United’s pre-season tour of Australia, which featured clashes against Manchester United and Western Sydney Wanderers, with Whites head coach Bielsa opting to keep some of the club’s internationals and summer recruits back at Thorp Arch to concentrate on fitness work.
But several of the key men who stayed behind also failed to make the plane to Sardinia including goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who is believed to be recovering from an injury and is again missing from the squad along with England Under-20s ace Jamie Shackleton and Macedonian international Gjanni Alioski.
Having featured heavily in the friendlies in Australia against Manchester United and Western Sydney Wanderers, on loan Manchester City winger Jack Harrison, left-back Barry Douglas and Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas are also missing along with striker Kemar Roofe and defender Luke Ayling, who have both been confirmed as injured. Ayling looks set to miss the first few games of the season following a knock to his ankle suffered in training before the club’s first pre-season friendly against York City.
The right-back has not featured for the Whites in pre-season and a return date for the 27-year-old is not clear, but the defender has had surgery on the issue and is not thought to be facing a long-term absence.
Roofe, meanwhile, is facing up to missing a month’s action with an ankle injury picked up during the club’s pre-season tour of Australia.
The 26-year-old forward limped off during the second half of the Whites’ 2-1 victory over Western Sydney on Saturday.
United initially feared a long-term issue, but further assessment returned a positive result with Roofe suffering a severe sprain.
Wales international forward Tyler Roberts has yet to feature in pre-season and the 20-year-old is again not among those travelling to Sardinia.
Roberts had a minor operation on his knee over the summer.
Several of the club’s most promising youngsters have also been left behind in Pascal Struijk, Ryan Edmondson, Kun Temenuzhkov and Will Huffer and also summer recruits Liam McCarron, Rafa Mújica and Guillermo Amor with Bielsa again taking just 16 players – the same number that represented the Whites Down Under.
Four youngsters who boarded the plane to Australia are left behind in Jordan Stevens, Clarke Oduor, Bryce Hosannah and Kamil Miazek.
Instead, Bielsa has taken young goalkeeper Josh Rae, defenders Leif Davis and Oliver Casey and midfielder Jack Jenkins to Sardinia.
Rapidly emerging 17-year-old Polish attacking midfielder Mateusz Bogusz also travels despite having taken a knock in the second half of the clash against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Cagliari finished 15th in Serie A last season with Italy international striker Leonardo Pavoletti scoring 16 of his side’s 36 league goals.
Leeds United’s squad for Cagliari friendly: Casilla, Rae, Davis, Cooper, White, Casey, Berardi, Phillips, Jenkins, Forshaw, Klich, Bogusz, Clarke, Hernandez, Costa, Bamford.
Notable first team squad players left behind: Peacock-Farrell, Huffer, Miazek, Alioski, Douglas, Struijk, Ayling, Dallas, Hosannah, Gotts, Shackleton, Oduor, Stevens, Harrison, Roofe, Edmondson, Temenuzhkov.