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Why Bielsa showed the door to O’Kane



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Eunan O’Kane has spent the season on the periphery at Leeds United, failing to make a single appearance under Marcelo Bielsa, and is expected to leave in January or next summer.

The 29-year-old’s last appearance for Leeds came against Queens Park Rangers on May 6, 2018, and he was told he was surplus to requirements under Bielsa the following campaign.

O’Kane told Balls.ie how Bielsa’s snub felt, saying: “Blunt. I don’t remember the exact date the manager took charge, but it was that summer and I got a call from Victor Orta (Leeds’ Director of Football).

“He just told me straight out. ‘We brought in a new manager, he doesn’t see you as part of his plans. It is probably best you look to go on loan or move on to get some football.’

“I was still on holiday. Apparently, he watched all of the games from the previous season and made his decision based on that. It was hugely frustrating but that is football at the end of the day.

“How many managers take over clubs and all of a sudden, someone who was playing previously or thought they were an important part of the team finds it has changed.

“It is part and parcel of the industry we are in. We (O’Kane and Bielsa) have never had a conversation. He gets on with his business and I get on with mine.”

O’Kane spent last season on loan at Luton Town (August 31, 2018 – January 10, 2019) in his pursuit of first-team football, but he only ended up making four appearances in all competitions after breaking his leg.

He currently finds himself behind Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Alfie McCalmont, Mateusz Bogusz and Jamie Shackleton in the pecking order. O’Kane doesn’t even have a shirt number for the season and hasn’t been included in the ‘first-team’ of Leeds’ official website either.

The 29-year-old didn’t even get the chance to impress Bielsa upon his arrival and risks becoming stagnant at Leeds. He needs regular football and the January transfer window could open the door to a move.

It remains to be seen what club he could join, however.

Stats from Transfermarkt.