Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has admitted that Pablo Hernandez still has to earn himself a new contract at Elland Road.
The 32-year-old winger’s deal is due to expire in the summer and the Leeds fans have made it clear on numerous occasions that they want the club’s hierarchy to wrap up a new contract with him as soon as possible.
The four-times Spain international has made 34 appearances in all competitions for the Whites this term, scoring six goals and supplying eight assists in the process.
That form has seen supporters demand that Hernandez gets a new deal, but Heckingbottom is adamant that the former Swansea ace needs to prove his fitness between now and the end of the campaign.
“Pablo’s been one of the best performers for me when I’ve had him available, he’s been one of the best performers,” said Heckingbottom, as quoted by LeedsLive.
“My priority at the moment is working with Pablo, seeing if he can improve still further because he loves the game, his enthusiasm is brilliant, but the priority is keeping him fit between now and the end of the season so we can give him the best possible chance to help us and help himself in terms of his contract.”
Football Insider verdict
Hernandez has not been Leeds’ best player this season, but he is one whose influence in the squad is something that Heckingbottom and director of football Victor Orta should be looking to keep. Leeds’ squad was completely refurbished last summer and one of the only players to keep his spot in the first-team was Hernandez. His form did not drop and he is by far and away one of the most reliable players. He should not have to prove his fitness just to get another year-long deal. There will no doubt be another club in the Championship happy to scoop him up if he becomes available for free and Leeds will regret that.