By Mark Smith

11th Dec, 2019 | 7:00pm

Phil Hay: Leeds player who starred v Hull could be in favour of summer exit

Watching Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi standing next to Hull striker Tom Eaves, it would be fair to say it was a mismatch.

That didn’t stop the Swiss enforcer from stamping his authority on the game. Eaves was almost twice the size of Berardi (okay, slight exaggeration), but he played a key role in keeping yet another clean sheet in the 2-0 victory.

Liam Cooper is no doubt a massive miss, but there can be no complaints with Berardi. Leeds made it seven wins in a row against our Yorkshire rivals, and Marcelo Bielsa will have been delighted with his defence.

Despite that form, the 31-year-old is yet to sign a new contract at Elland Road. His current deal is set to run out at the end of this season.

Phil Hay delivered an update on his future after the game on Tuesday, claiming Berardi might not be at the club past this season.

“There haven’t been any talks with Berardi,” he wrote in a Q&A on the Athletic website.

“Leeds are possibly considering how suited he’d be to the Premier League. It was also suggested to me that Berardi might be in favour of a return to Italy where his family settled before England.”

Given that he is clearly a back-up option at Elland Road, it would be no surprise should he leave the club once his deal expires.

Leeds are also spot on to consider whether or not he would be suited to the Premier League should we get promoted given his disciplinary record in the past.

Ben White has been superb, and should we earn promotion, a permanent move for the Brighton loanee has to be a top priority – similar to what Aston Villa did with Tyrone Mings in the summer.

There would need to be many changes to prepare for the Premier League, and Berardi may need to put in more performances like the one against Hull to prove he is capable of the step up – if he even wants to stay.

In other Leeds United news, Exclusive: Paul Robinson reveals whether current Leeds XI would survive in the Premier League