Danny Mills says that it was “hugely important” that Leeds United tied Pablo Hernandez to a new contract with Championship rivals circling for his signing.

The former Leeds and England defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that he was well aware of the interest in the Spanish playmaker and that it was crucial the board at Elland Road made him feel wanted.

Leeds confirmed earlier this week that the veteran winger had put pen to paper on a deal which keeps him committed at the club until the summer of 2022, having first joined the club back in 2016.

Mills says that Hernandez is the sort of player that clubs want because of his ability in the final third and says a lot of clubs were keeping tabs on his situation in the hope they could snatch his ability for themselves

Mills told Football Insider: “There’s been a lot of clubs sniffing around. Travelling around as you do, talking to lots of different people, even though he’s in the what you might call the twilight of his career, everyone appreciates that he’s a really good player.

“He’s got that something a little bit different, that can pick a pass, unlock a door. I know for a fact there were a lot of Championship teams sniffing around and just waiting to see what was going to happen with that situation.

“Leeds are thinking we need secure his future, need to make him feel wanted, we’ll give him this deal and if we get there (to the Premier League) you worry about that afterwards. Keeping a player like that, letting him know that he’s wanted, that you want him to stay, is hugely important.” 

Hernandez, 34, started the season as a mainstay for Marcelo Bielsa, lining up in the starting XI for the opening eight Championship games.

However, injury forced him to miss six league games, with his two latest outings totalling just 22 minutes as a substitute.

In other Leeds United news, Paul Robinson says that he expects an Elland Road loanee to leave and seal a first-team place at his parent club in January.