“Time caught up with him a little bit last season.
“There were times when he was out injured for periods and when he came back in it was off the bench.
“It happens to us all, unfortunately. As you enter the twilight of his career, injuries get harder to get over.
“The game isn’t slowing down in any way shape or form at the moment. The game is constantly getting quicker and quicker all the time.
“That’s just how it is, you have to deal with that accordingly.
“As you get to that age it does get harder and harder in those situations.”
Hernandez’s Fall From Grace At Elland Road
The Castellon-born playmaker has struggled to earn regular game time at the West Yorkshire club this season. The 35-year-old has participated in just four matches for the Whites across various competitions but is still waiting to open his goal-scoring account for this campaign.
However, the Spanish veteran had a terrific season in the EFL Championship in the last term when he banged in nine goals and grabbed nine assists in 36 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side on all fronts. Hernandez did well to average 2.1 shots, 2.3 key passes and 1.1 dribbles per game in the second tier of English football. He was also relatively accurate with his ball-distribution after completing 77% of his attempted passes in league football last season (stats via whoscored).
What Does The Ex-Valencia Attacker Offer On The Field?
Despite losing a yard of pace from his game, Hernandez can still be a useful player in the opposition half because of his vast experience and his vision to pick out a killer pass in the offensive end of the pitch. He has got great balance when travelling with the ball and can also generate a lot of curve with his crosses and shots from long range.
However, father time is catching up with the Spaniard, so he is bound to struggle to cope with the intensity of playing football under Marcelo Bielsa in the future. Still, there is no denying that he is a valuable squad player at Elland Road as he helps inspire the younger players to do well at the Yorkshire club.
What Should Bielsa Do With Regards To Hernandez’s Future?
Hernandez’s current contract with Leeds is set to run out in the summer of 2022. Hence, Bielsa could be tempted to sell him if a fair offer comes in for him in January or at the end of this campaign. The Spanish playmaker’s best years are well past him, so it remains to be seen whether the Whites decide to honour the full length of his contract by retaining his services for the coming seasons.