Athletic journalist Phil Hay believes that Diego Llorente could get his first start for Leeds United in the game against Newcastle on Tuesday.
Llorente made a triumphant return from injury for the Under-23s this week, scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win against Stoke.
Talking on the latest episode of the Phil Hay Show podcast, Hay said, “Llorente, he cost £18m, he’s a Spain international, he’s got a lot of La Liga experience.
“Given that slot is open if you push Luke Ayling back to his preferred position at right-back, you have to say and have to feel that the time is surely coming for Llorente to get a chance there and to get a run.
“There is no point in Llorente being in the squad with an £18m fee if he’s not going to be playing.
“He had an Under-23s game earlier this week and he’s been around the squad for a fortnight. Maybe this will be his time.”
Llorente to start v Newcastle
Llorente has had more than his fair share of bad luck since joining Leeds.
His only appearance came ahead of his scheduled return when he came off the bench to replace the stricken Robin Koch.
That left him injured again. And while Marcelo Bielsa won’t want to rush him back into the first team he looked fit and sharp in the game at Thorp Arch on Monday.
He looked impressive at both ends of the pitch, although you would expect that from an £18m Spain international playing in the second division of the Premier League 2.
He scored a header from a Kalvin Phillips cross – which turned out to be the only goal of the game – and narrowly missed with a spectacular shot from about 40 yards out.
If that was his dress rehearsal then he passed with flying colours and we do think that Llorente will get his first start on Tuesday.
Something needs to change, with Leeds on a barren run of three defeats without scoring.
Llorente and Cooper can keep things tight at the back and, hopefully, the misfiring Leeds attack can get back on track.
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