By Noel Whelan

19th Dec, 2020 | 5:00pm

Leeds Exclusive: Whelan drops big Hernandez claim after early team news

Pablo Hernandez will have to settle for a role as an impact sub after falling behind Rodrigo Moreno in the Leeds United pecking order, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road has insisted the 35-year-old will find starts hard to come by thanks in part to his fellow countryman.

Hernandez came off the bench against Newcastle to make his first appearance in six games under Marcelo Bielsa and managed to chip in with two assists in his eight-minute cameo.

He had appeared to fall out of favour under the Argentine boss earlier in the campaign, while injuries have also limited his game time.

Marcelo Bielsa revealed at his media conference on Friday that Leeds have no new injuries ahead of Sunday’s Man United clash.

Having watched the Elland Road favourite make a significant impact off the bench against Steve Bruce’s men, Whelan has suggested Hernandez will have to settle for more substitute appearances over the season.

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Whelan told Football Insider: I think that’s his role now, and he needs to understand that. Rodrigo is the man that’s going to be out there playing that position but when he comes on in the second half for 45 minutes or 35 minutes, that is what we need from him.

“This is what he can do to teams – when they’re tired towards the back end of the game and when you’ve got somebody with that amount of intelligence and that amount of quality, he can hurt people. That’s what it was.

“I always separate good players and great players by the choices of passes and the choices they make on the field and he just proved and has shown everybody why he’s a great player.

“Very easily he could have gone on, instead of squaring the ball to Alioski, he could have gone and taken the limelight himself and tried to get a goal for himself, coming back into the squad, but he didn’t.

“He chose the right pass at the right time, using his brain, using that intelligence and that brilliance that he has. He was excellent. It was great to have him back and he showed why how important is to this side.” 

In other news, Football Insider can reveal Leeds United have opened talks over a stunning £50million financial deal.