Darren Bent “hates to see” Leeds United £18million summer signing Diego Llorente’s struggle with injuries ahead of his potential first-XI comeback against Newcastle next week.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England and Tottenham goalscorer made his comments after the Spaniard came through his return from injury for the Under-23s on Monday against Stoke City with flying colours.

The centre-back scored and played 45 minutes in his first appearance since sustaining a muscle injury on his Leeds United debut against Chelsea in early December.

The former Real Sociedad man’s return has taken longer than expected.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa told Leeds’ official website four weeks ago that Llorente was in “good condition to play again.”

Bent admitted his sympathy for Llorente but said that injury-prone players are at a huge disadvantage.

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Asked about the defender’s potential return, he told Football Insider“That’s what it’s all about. It’s about staying injury-free. That’s such a big bonus to have a player.

“Injuries have always been a major issue, Llorente’s injuries. It’s a difficult one because I hate seeing it, players who really struggle with injury and I always have done. Unfortunately, that’s been the case here.”

Leeds United defender

Llorente was one of a number of expensive summer signings made by Leeds as they embarked on their first top-flight campaign in 16 years.

They spent close to £100m, with Llorente, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Helder Costa and Robin Kock all arriving for eight-figure fees.

In other news, Leeds have been tipped to sign the Serie A player a top pundit has labelled the “missing piece of the jigsaw” after an Andrea Rardrizzani Ywitter reveal.