Fit-again Leeds United star Diego Llorente might well feature against Newcastle but he won’t be at his best — and “that’s for definite.“
So says former Elland Road man Michael Brown, speaking exclusively to Football Insider amid talk that the Spaniard could make just his second Leeds appearance tomorrow night.
Llorente, 27, was signed for £23million in the summer but has struggled with various muscle injuries since arriving in West Yorkshire.
Marcelo Bielsa spoke at length in today’s press conference about how the former Real Sociedad man could help his defence going forward, igniting hopes that the centre-back might feature at St. James’ Park.
But although Llorente made a goalscoring return for Leeds’ development squad last Monday, Brown does not expect him to be on top form immediately after a layoff.
He told Football Insider: “You can play a few minutes for the 23s but it still takes a couple of weeks of proper training and match practice to get up to the standard of the Premier League.
“Especially when it’s a repeat injury and you’ve had the breakdown again.
“Even if he comes back into the side, he won’t be up to full-speed against Newcastle, and that’s for definite.”
Llorente is a full Spain international and has turned out six times for the national team since making his debut in 2016.
With the European Championship just around the corner — Covid-permitting — he will be hoping to impress Luis Enrique with a strong second half to the season.