Angel Dealbert has hailed Leeds United midfielder Pablo Hernandez’s ability to play at the top of his game at 34-years-old and suggested he could still cut it in La Liga, as told to The Athletic.
Hernandez played alongside Dealbert at Valencia after emerging from the Spanish side’s academy in the mid-2000s, while his former teammate moved to the Mestalla Stadium from boyhood club CD Castellon in 2009.
Hernandez has been one of Leeds’ most influential players since his arrival at Elland Road from Al Arabi on an initial loan deal in 2016, with the Spanish midfielder boasting 29 goals and 32 assists across all competitions for the West Yorkshire outfit (TransferMarkt).
The veteran former Spain international was particularly influential to their efforts last season, as he ended Marcelo Bielsa’s first campaign at Elland Road with twelve goals and assists – the highest goal involvement rate of any Whites player (WhoScored).
His creative touch is already working its magic in 2019/20, too, as Hernandez boasts the most assists of any Leeds player (2) after the opening six league fixtures, and has scored the second-most (2), having featured in all bar 23 of the available minutes.
Hernandez’s stellar record despite his rising age comes as a reward to his determination, and Dealbert feels that could see him compete in La Liga still.
“He’s what, 34, and he plays like this?” the retired central defender told The Athletic. “You can’t believe it. And he looks like he’s getting better. I think he could play in the top league in Spain now.”
Hernandez has not played in his homeland since leaving Valencia for Swansea City in 2012 but, should he opt for a return when his current contract at Elland Road expires next summer, it could prove problematic for Leeds.
The Whites would face an almost impossible task to replace Hernandez if they are still in the Championship next season, as someone of his calibre would be so hard to find, especially at a reasonable price, despite TransferMarkt only valuing Hernandez at £1.8million.
According to Reach’s Regional football writers, via Wales Online, Hernandez is also the best player in the Championship right now, while Kalvin Phillips came in at sixth, despite the West Yorkshire side touting their midfielder at £30million this summer.
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