Kevin Phillips hailed the return of Diego Llorente from injury after the Leeds United defender made his debut against Chelsea yesterday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former England international said it was a “huge boost” to have the 27-year-old fit ahead of the festive period.

Marcelo Bielsa handed the Spain international his debut at Stamford Bridge yesterday after Robin Koch was forced off just nine minutes into the match through injury.

Llorente has endured a difficult start to life at Elland Road since his £18million move from Real Sociedad, a groin injury suffered on international duty in October keeping him sidelined for two months.

Phillips claims Bielsa will be over the moon the centre-half has returned to provide cover and competition for places ahead of a busy festive schedule.

“It is a huge boost,” he told Football Insider.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“It is amazing how well Leeds have done without him.

“To have another top international come back, as a manager, it is a huge boost. It is like a fresh signing coming into the club.

“It does two things, it gives Leeds that cover again and it also gives the players who are already in the team a kick up the backside. He brings competition for places so everybody needs to be on the top of their game. It will only help the squad.

“It is great for Bielsa to have him back. That Leeds squad is looking very strong at the moment and I think any Premier League team coming up against them will be in for a tough, tough time.” 

In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills wowed as his former club close in on £5million+ new deal.