Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed Eddie Nketiah will return to training with the main group next week, after which he should be ready to play.
Nketiah’s injury came at a very inconvenient time, with widespread reports suggesting he was set to get his first Championship start with his loan club that very weekend. Sadly, he was ruled out for four weeks with an abdominal injury suffered in training.
That was at the start of November, and a few weeks later Leeds boss Bielsa has suggested the striker is on track to return on schedule next week.
“Nketiah is not ready yet, but next week he will start working with the group,” Bielsa said. “He is training. It’s different when you train to when you train with the group and after it is necessary to consider the time he was without training.
“After Eddie starts to train with the group, he will be ready to compete. One thing is being healthy and another being ready to compete. It is necessary to consider the time he was without training.”
It’s clear Bielsa is trying to manage expectations with his comments. Anyone predicting Nketiah to start against Luton Town tomorrow or Reading on Tuesday is sure to be disappointed, and it’s a long shot we’ll see him against Middlesbrough next Saturday.
There’s no midweek game in the following week though, so Huddersfield away on December 7th certainly seems like a reasonable return date in four games’ time.
Nketiah is still Leeds’ joint-top scorer in all competitions this season with five goals, despite not starting a league game and having this injury for the last couple of weeks.
The Arsenal loanee has also scored six goals in four games for the England u21s since the end of 2018/19. If he picks back up where he left off, he’ll make it into the Leeds team soon enough.