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Noel Whelan Urges Leeds United To Replace This Ageing Star: The Right Advice For Bielsa?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

During an interview with Football Insider, Noel Whelan has urged Leeds United to find a replacement for Pablo Hernandez if they get promoted to the Premier League. The former Leeds striker believes that Hernandez is in the final phase of his career and needs to be replaced as the Whites brace themselves for a much-awaited return to the Premier League.

Assessing Pablo Hernandez’s importance at Leeds

Hernandez has been an integral part of the Leeds United side since joining the club back in 2016. He has been involved in 69 goals in just 150 competitive appearances for the club.

This season, the Spaniard has been involved in 12 goals, which is more than one-fifth of the total goals Leeds United have scored in the Championship so far. His ability to influence the game in the final third has been critical, especially under the efficient system of Marcelo Bielsa.

The fact that Hernandez can operate as a CAM, as well as a right-winger, has made it easier for the Argentine mastermind to accommodate him in the starting lineup. But, the player also deserves credit for providing the goods, notably averaging an impressive 2.3 key passes per game in the Championship this season.

Will Hernandez be useful in the Premier League?

Hernandez’s presence in the side will be essential, should Leeds United qualify for the Premier League next season. He is one of the very few players who have the experience of playing at the highest level of football.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 28: Pablo Hernandez of Leeds United reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Millwall at Elland Road on January 28, 2020, in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Indeed, the 35-year-old has made 166 appearances in La Liga and 57 appearances in the Premier League throughout his long career. His exposure of the top-flight European football could be priceless for an otherwise young and inexperienced Leeds United side.

Moreover, the Spaniard’s versatility in the attacking unit will provide Bielsa with additional tactical options in the final third – making it easier for the gaffer to rotate the squad.

Why Leeds must sign an alternative

Apart from Hernandez, Bielsa does not really have any existing alternatives in the creative department, with Jack Harrison set to return to his parent club Man City in the summer.

While there is a no doubt that the Whites would explore the possibility of signing the winger permanently, Bielsa simply cannot keep relying on the services of the 35-year-old Hernandez throughout the entirety of the Premier League campaign.

Someone like Pascal Gross, for example, might be an excellent choice as the Brighton attacker is known for his hard work and industry that tune in well with Leeds’ style of play. But, either way, Whelan is absolutely right to warn the Championship league leaders about the future of Hernandez.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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