Dominic Matteo believes that Marcelo Bielsa is going to give Leeds United centre-back Diego Llorente his full debut in the game against Newcastle on Tuesday.

The summer signing came through his return from injury for the Under-23s on Monday with flying colours.

He scored the only goal of the game – a header from a Kalvin Phillips cross – after narrowly missing with a rasping shot from 40 yards.

Writing in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Matteo thinks that it’s time for Llorente to come into the side to play alongside Liam Cooper.

“I think Bielsa might play Diego Llorente now he’s fit,” Matteo wrote.

“Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling are good players, you know what you’ll get from them, they’re wholehearted, but I would like to see another central defender coming in there who focuses on the defensive side a bit more.

“We’ve got Alioski, Ayling and Dallas in the back four who are all very attacking but we have so much talent in the attacking areas that we don’t always have to be bombing on from the back. For me, probably because I’m a defender, defensive improvement is the priority.”

Llorente has only made one appearance for Leeds so far, coming off the bench in the game against Chelsea.

Leeds United

Diego time

We’ll be really surprised if Llorente doesn’t start on Tuesday.

Luke Ayling has been doing a good job deputising at centre-back but he’s made mistakes and you just can’t afford that in the Premier League.

Llorente is a player who’s played so little for Leeds that fans have forgotten how much promise he brings with him.

He’s a full Spain international who kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet in the 0-0 draw with Portugal.

Monday’s Under-23s game showed that he can bring some much-needed presence to the Leeds attack from set-pieces, too.

His first start will see Ayling move to right-back with Stuart Dallas on the left.

That’s the back four that we expect – injuries permitting – to be our first choice until Robin Koch comes back from injury in the spring, and possibly beyond.

We think Llorente has a big chance of becoming the number one choice at the back for Leeds.

In other Leeds United news, Leeds ‘are ready’ to move for midfielder wanted by Bielsa – 6-month loan, no obligation


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