MOT View: Bielsa set to give Leeds ace full debut v Brighton after Under-23s development
Leeds United fans should finally get to see Diego Llorente make his full debut for the club on Saturday, after signing in the summer for £18m.
It’s not been the start Llorente would have wanted to his career at Leeds, with injuries limiting him to just one appearance off the bench so far.
He was injured out on international duty with Spain and then was injured again after he came on for Robin Koch in the game against Chelsea.
That remains his only appearance for the first-team at the moment.
However, we think Brighton will be his first full debut, alongside Liam Cooper as the Leeds backline finally reverts to a more normal set-up.
The first big clue came on Monday when Llorente was missing for the Under-23s. He had been expected to play against Burnley but was pulled from the squad.
This was revealed to be a planned reaction to the defeat against Crawley, with all first-team players, including Llorente, undergoing a full week of training ahead of the Brighton clash.
Bielsa then confirmed that Llorente was fit in his press conference on Thursday, saying that just Kalvin Phillips was unavailable for selection.
All of this points to Llorente getting his first start, with Cooper in the centre, Stuart Dallas on the left and Luke Ayling on the right.
Pascal Struijk will replace Phillips in the defensive midfield role.
This will be a huge boost for Leeds and this is the backline that we’d expect to be Bielsa’s first choice until Koch is back in the spring – and possibly until next season.
It’s important that Cooper and Llorente can stay fit. They’ve both been injured at different – and sometimes the same – time.
Leeds have been criticised for their defence but having two senior centre-backs in the middle against Brighton should help a lot.
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