Noel Whelan has dubbed Leeds United defender Diego Llorente ‘fantastic’ after his return from injury against Watford.
Llorente returned to the starting line-up against the Hornets after missing three matches through a hamstring problem which he sustained against Liverpool (via BBC Sport).
And the Spaniard’s first-half goal proved to be enough to secure Leeds’ first victory of the season and lift them out of the bottom three.
Llorente was also SofaScore‘s man of the match with a rating of 7.6/10, having completed 60 of his 67 passes and won two of his three ground duels.
The 28-year-old earned a place in Garth Crooks’ BBC Sport Team of the Week, featuring alongside Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah in defence.
Whelan was effusive in his praise for Llorente, pointing out just how many attributes he possesses.
And he also feels that the Spaniard elevates the rest of the backline.
“He was brilliant,” the former Leeds man told Football Insider. “In my opinion, he’s a fantastic centre half.
“He’s very dominant in the air, great on the ball, drives into space when it’s available. His ball distribution is fantastic.”
He later added: “He makes other players better. Everyone steps up to the mark when he’s in the side, and we’re a little bit more settled.”
Llorente is an impressive player, but it is just a matter of keeping him fit. Suffering an injury so early into this season after last year’s troubles doesn’t bode particularly well.
You feel that Leeds’ chances of repeating last season’s top-half finish will improve no-end if the Spaniard can avoid any further setbacks.
He’s probably the best centre-half they have at their disposal based on Whelan praise, so a push into the top half and towards the European places could perhaps depend on his availability.
In other news, this Leeds loanee is having a torrid time.
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