Leeds United have had many injury troubles at the back this season, but Diego Llorente is fit to play and Noel Whelan believes he should start against Newcastle.
What Whelan had to say about Llorente
Speaking to Football Insider about the upcoming Newcastle match, Whelan said: “Llorente has to come in. We have had players playing out of position too often. Yes, they have done a job but it is time to start putting Dallas back at left-back and Ayling back at right-back. Bielsa can do that if we bring Llorente back next to Liam Cooper.
“We need that balance at the back. If players are available now, they have to go into their natural habitat. It is as simple as that.
“The Newcastle game is huge. I am so happy that we do not have the Southampton game quite frankly. It would have come too soon and despite two damaging defeats I think we have a good chance at Newcastle.”
Should Llorente start against Newcastle?
Whelan is right when he says the match against Newcastle is huge. With Leeds losing against relegation battlers Brighton and also without a win or a goal in 2021, they really need to turn things around quickly to stop themselves being dragged into the relegation battle.
Kevin Campbell labelled Llorente as ‘fantastic’ (via Football Insider) despite his injuries, and he showed exactly that in his lone Premier League appearance so far, making five tackles, four clearances and one interception against Chelsea (SofaScore). He also won five ground duels and four aerial duels.
Bielsa’s side have had a torrid time in defence as injuries have mounted up and they have leaked goals. Leeds have conceded 34 in the Premier League (SofaScore) and this is the second-most in the division. On that basis, it feels hard to disagree with Wheelman’s assessment on Llorente’s return.
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