By Mark Smith

12th Mar, 2021 | 12:05pm

MOT View: Gaetano Berardi may never make Premier League debut for Leeds

Leeds United have been boosted by the long-awaited return of Gaetano Berardi in the past month after his year ruled out injured.

The Swiss defender featured for the under-23s against Crystal Palace and Wolves recently and made the bench for the Premier League clash against West Ham.

Berardi isn’t the only one to hand Marcelo Bielsa a fitness boost, with Diego Llorente back and Robin Koch on the verge of a return too.

This isn’t good news for Berardi.

Everyone will have been praying for his return in the Premier League against the best in the world, but he may never get that chance.

Liam Cooper and Ben White were mainstays in the Championship, and Berardi has always been a back-up or rotation player under Bielsa.

With Pascal Struijk rising to the top this season, the Swiss enforcer is currently fifth-choice at Elland Road given his lack of action.

The 32-year-old hasn’t made more than 13 starts in a single season under Bielsa, and that is set to continue until he leaves West Yorkshire.

Bielsa confirmed on Thursday that Koch is set to return for the under-23s on Monday against Newcastle in what would be a huge boost.

That could see the German international return to atleast the bench against Fulham next Friday evening at Craven Cottage.

This would all-but-end Berardi’s chances of making his Premier League debut for the Whites, with three internationals ahead of him in the pecking order.

Cooper and Llorente will continue, and Koch could immediately jump back ahead of the others and onto the bench for the final few months of this campaign.

The only way Berardi could make his debut this season would be if the Whites are hit by another injury crisis, and nobody wants that to happen.

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