Presence of Bielsa convinces Blackman to make switch to Leeds United

NEW signing Jamal Blackman has revealed how Marcelo Bielsa's presence at Leeds United helped persuade him to join the Championship club on a season-long loan deal.

Jamal Blackman spent last season on loan at Bramall Lane. Picture: SportImage.

The 24-year-old, the second signing of the summer at Elland Road, is expected to make his bow for United in tonight’s friendly at Forest Green Rovers.

Fresh from spending last term at Sheffield United, the Chelsea goalkeeper is looking forward to working with former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa.

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He said: “At Chelsea everyone speaks really highly of him. It is one of those things where they said being able to work under him would be a great opportunity and in your career you don’t get that many opportunities like this.

“It was one I had to take. We had a few other clubs talking about me, so it was quite a big decision. With Chelsea I am trying to get as close to the first team as possible and Leeds was probably my best option.

“It is mainly up to them (Chelsea) as well. They are trying to make sure that they look after me and that I make the right decisions for my career and get as much experience as possible. We sat down quite a lot together and tried to think about what the best options would be.”

Blackman made 33 appearances for the Blades last term and had been open to a possible return.

“We spoke to Sheffield,” he added. “They said that they wanted to see what their options were as well. It was time to see what happened, but with the World Cup going on it was a bit up and down. No one knew what was going on at Chelsea, so it is good to be able to get sorted out.

Jamal Blackman. Picture: LUFC.

“I really loved it [at Bramall Lane]. It was really welcoming and we did really well.”

Blackman started in both games against Leeds last season as the Blades did the double over their Yorkshire rivals.

“I remember that Friday night (game),” said the 6ft 7ins goalkeeper about the 2-1 triumph at Elland Road in October. “It was a massive game and everyone was up for it. The atmosphere coming into it, it was like a den coming here.

“It was a great start for us. We played so well and we were unfortunate not to make it (the play-offs). We weren’t too far off. That was their first season in the Championship for a while and my first season in the Championship. It helped that we were all in the same boat.

“There are only bigger and better things ahead for them as well and it was a great opportunity to get that chance.”