Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Graham Smyth has said that Leeds United star Pablo Hernandez is likely to get vastly restricted minutes going forward.

Smyth added that he didn’t think Hernandez would “accept this” and would work even harder to get back in the team.

The playmaker, who Smyth said was the “main man” in getting Leeds promoted last season, was dropped for the game against Crystal Palace after a petulant reaction to getting subbed off against Leicester.

He missed the 0-0 with Arsenal through injury.

Leeds’ record summer signing Rodrigo has played in the number 10 position and looked brilliant, with the £27m man getting better every game.

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Talking on the latest episode of the Inside Elland Road podcast Smyth said, “I think if Rodrigo stays fit then Pablo’s minutes could be greatly restricted this season… Already you think he’s a player who has to start.

“But what an option to play Rodrigo for 75 mins and then bring Hernandez on for 15 mins.

“Whether it’s a good position for Hernandez when you were the man in the promotion run-in. Even though he was nursing an injury, and he was making cameo appearances, they were match-winning cameo appearances. He was the main man who got Leeds up.

“It will be a difficult thing for him to accept. I doubt he accepts it, I think it will make him work even harder.”

The good news for Hernandez is that Smyth thinks the bust-up between Hernandez and Bielsa is done and dusted.

“I would be really surprised if there’s any hangover from the bust-up,” Smyth added. “Bielsa will understand Hernandez was angry. I think Hernandez will understand he can’t really react the way he did. I think that will be very quickly forgotten.

“But we might see an absolute ding-dong between Hernandez and Rodrigo.”

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Rodrigo the main man now

Marcelo Bielsa did say that Hernandez was injured for the Arsenal game after picking up a knock in training during the international break.

However, given what happened before, there will always be some speculation about whether the rift is healed between the player and Bielsa.

We hope it’s done and dusted. Whether Hernandez starts or not – and we thought he would have made a much bigger impact so far this season – he can still have a huge impact in the Premier League.

He almost scored a brilliant goal against Leicester that would have completely turned that game, but the woodwork got in the way (again).

However, we do think that Rodrigo is the future at Leeds. He has looked better every game and looks genuinely world-class in that roaming role.

Hernandez might have to accept a role from the bench going forward but Leeds need that sort of depth in their squad.

In other Leeds United news, Nigel Martyn: Bielsa has discovered ‘readymade replacement’ for Cooper, may save Leeds millions


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