Noel Whelan is adamant “something was not right” between Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa and Pablo Hernandez prior to the international break.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Whites and Coventry striker said it would be a “very worrying sign” if the 35-year-old is not involved in this weekend’s game against Arsenal.
Hernandez was left out of the squad that were defeated 4-1 at Crystal Palace after he reacted angrily to being replaced by Tyler Roberts in the loss to Leicester a week prior.
The Spanish midfielder has since apologised for his actions on Instagram and could be in line to face Arsenal on Saturday at Elland Road.
Whelan insisted his former club “cannot afford” to have a player of Hernandez’s ability not in the squad.
“The million dollar question is whether Pablo is involved,” he told Football Insider.
“I very much doubt anything will come out from what happened. It has been kept indoors by Leeds, and that will continue to be the case, but something was not right there between manager and player.
“If he does not make the squad for the Arsenal game then it is a very worrying sign that there is a bigger rift to be gapped between manager and player.
“We know that Marcelo Bielsa is not a man to be messed with. He is strong in his will and with his decision-making and it does not matter who you are.
“It is side before self at Leeds United. No player is bigger than the football club. One player does not make a team or a football club special.
“If he thinks he is going to stroll back into the side, that might be difficult but I would like to see him on the bench and see this cleared up.
“We cannot afford to have players of Pablo’s ability at the football club and not being used.”