By Mark Smith

13th Feb, 2020 | 9:00pm

Sky Sports pundit heaps praise on Leeds player who 'could be the difference' in promotion race

Kevin Phillips has singled out Leeds United playmaker Pablo Hernandez as the one who could fire the Whites back to the Premier League this season.

The Sky Sports pundit admitted that the Spaniard is the perfect Marcelo Bielsa type of player for his style at Elland Road and that Leeds must keep him fit until the end of the season.

Phillips claimed that every single team in the Championship would want Hernandez in their side, as everyone loves to watch him play.

“He’s a good player, he’s a Bielsa player, his work rate’s excellent, his technical ability is excellent and he can score goals,” he told Football Insider.

“Any side in any league wants players like that and I’ve enjoyed watching him over the years, he’s the one you want on the ball as he has tricks and can surprise teams. Everyone loves to see him play.

“From Leeds’ point of view, they need to keep him fit between now and the end of the season because again he could be the difference.”

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Hernandez has always been integral to the way Bielsa sets up his Leeds side, but it is no secret that he hasn’t been as effective as he was last season in this campaign.

The 34-year-old has only been involved in eight goals, compared to last season when he was involved in an impressive 24 goals.

Leeds are more reliant on goals from Patrick Bamford, but the creativity may have dropped at Elland Road. Hernandez is averaging fewer shots on goal and key passes per game according to WhoScored.

That isn’t to say he isn’t impressing though, with Hernandez still amongst the top performers at Leeds. Phillips is spot on, the Whites must keep him fit.

In other Leeds United news, these Bielsa comments could suggest he prefers under-23s ace to recent January signing