'It Worries Me' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to Thorp Arch update on Leeds favourite
Noel Whelan has admitted he is worried about Pablo Hernandez’s persistent injury problems at Leeds United this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road has insisted the Whites are missing their game-changing talisman this season.
As confirmed by Bielsa at his pre-match press conference at Thorp Arch on Thursday, Hernandez will be missing once again against Chelsea as he recovers from “repeated muscle injuries”.
The Spanish playmaker and big fans’ favourite has sat out the Whites’ last three Premier League games, while he was absent for another three in the opening weeks of the season.
With injuries plaguing the 35-year-old’s return to the Premier League, Whelan has admitted there is some concern over whether he will ever get back to his best.
“I do worry a little bit because he’s been in and out this season and he’s been hampered with niggles,” Whelan told Football Insider.
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“I guess at a certain age, the age that he’s played and the amount of football that he’s played, you’re gonna get that but we’re not as strong without him, we need someone like that, whether it’s off the bench or in for 45 to come on and change the game.
“So it does worry me that he’s getting it in training and not even in the games, so hopefully it’s not a long term one, we don’t think it is, but again it’s another game that he’s missing and we really could do with him back because we need to get as strong a team as possible.”
Hernandez has started twice in his four Premier League appearances this season and lasted just over an hour in both.
The likes of Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha and Tyler Roberts have filled the attacking midfielder role in his absence.
In other Leeds United news: ‘Star of the future’ – Treble-winning manager dazzled by Elland Road ‘Kid’.