Leeds United, the fallen English giants have had an interesting first season back in the Premier League after being promoted to the first division for the first time in 16 years. The Whites, who were relegated to the Championship back in 2004, climbed back into the top flight of English football in 2020. This season has seen Marcelo Bielsa’s men get recognized worldwide with their unique playing style and never-say-die attitude. Their playing style this season has led them to be termed as the Entertainers of Premier League.
In January 2019, Leeds United who was still in the Championship, signed the then Real Madrid backup goalkeeper Kiko Casilla on a four-and-a-half-year deal. Casilla was signed to provide a more experienced option to the Whites in the goalkeeping department. Since then, the Spanish keeper has notched up 60 appearances for Leeds acting mostly as a backup keeper.
Since their promotion to the Premier League, he has made only 1 league appearance, against Brighton and Hove Albion in January 2021, although he has been named on the bench for almost all of their league games and has started all of their cup games. However, Kiko Casilla was left out of the matchday squad on Monday for their trip to West Ham. Instead, the highly-rated youngster Elia Caprile took his place on the bench, signaling that it could be the end of the road for Casilla at Leeds.
The question on everybody’s mind was, who is Elia Caprile? He was Leeds United’s 2020 January signing when they were still in the Championship. Caprile was signed on a three-and-a-half-year deal as an 18-year-old and was expected to feature in their youth side and continue his development. In February 2020, Caprile took Kiko Casilla’s place on the bench after the Spaniard was banned for eight games on a racial abuse charge.
On Monday when Elia Caprile replaced Kiko Casilla on the bench, it added fuel to the fire that time was up for the 34-year-old and he would have to look at options elsewhere. After he was dropped, Casilla posted a cryptic message on his Instagram account which seemed to express his displeasure at being dropped. However, the Spanish shot-stopper and his agent both clarified that it had nothing to do with the squad selection and instead was related to the player’s personal life.
The Instagram post, translated from Spaniard, read: “I’m slow to go, because I believe in changes. And I wait, and I endure, and I keep. But one day I get tired, and without saying anything I leave everything and go. Believe me that once I get tired I won’t come back again, because I give everything before I leave,” followed by a lot of emojis that meant he was silent. He later commented on a Leeds fan account honestly, “there are people with very boring lives, I have not said anything bad about the club or my situation, they are personal things, not to do with Leeds. #mot”, followed by a white heart emoji.
Whatever the post meant, one question on everyone’s minds will be if Kiko Casilla would still be a Leeds player next season or would he be seen somewhere else donning new colours. The Italian Elia Caprile is certainly worthy of a place on the bench and Casilla could soon be shown the door by Marcelo Bielsa. It remains to see whether the Italian’s inclusion on Monday was just a one-off or if he will continue to feature on the bench for the rest of the season. If it’s the latter, Casilla and his agent would certainly be looking for options. All eyes will be on Marcelo Bielsa’s team selection when Leeds United hosts Chelsea at Elland Road.