By Noel Whelan

27th Sep, 2020 | 8:00am

Exclusive: Leeds player tipped to make first start today after early team news

Noel Whelan believes that new signing Diego Llorente could make his Leeds United debut against Sheffield United on Sunday.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, suggests that Marcelo Bielsa could look to counter the Blades’ two-man attack by utilising a three centre-backs at Bramall Lane.

As quoted by Leeds Live at his pre-match press conference, Bielsa confirmed that the 27-year-old was in contention for Sunday’s game after he started the season in Real Sociedad’s starting XI.

The Spain international joins club captain Liam Cooper,  fellow new arrival Robin Koch and young Pascal Struijk as the senior centre-back options at the manager’s disposal.

Whelan believes that the latest addition to Elland Road could be thrown straight into the starting XI against Sheffield United and insists the added competition will help the others lift their own games.

Whelan told Football Insider: “You’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to play – are they going to play three at the back and move Kalvin a bit further forward alongside Mateusz Klich?

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“Will he go straight into the side against Sheffield United? Well, they like to play two up front and generally, we like to match that and play three at the back so quite possibly he might be thrown straight into it and we see him making his first start on Sunday.

“We need quality, you look at other people in the Premier League, even on the bench they have quality options. I think competition for places brings out the best in players and this is going to be added competition.”

Llorente played the full 90 minutes for Real Socieded against Real Valladolid earlier this month, while he was left as an unused substitute against Real Madrid just days before his move to Leeds.

Germany international Koch has started both of the club’s Premier League games this season and has been partnered with both Stuijk and Cooper so far.

In other Leeds United news, a player has been given the green light by his club to hold talks with the Whites over a move to Elland Road.