Leeds United

Leeds United defender Diego Llorente embarrassed himself by feigning injury against Aston Villa — it highlighted a real weakness in his game. 

That is according to ex-Leeds striker and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after an incident involving Llorente and Ollie Watkins during Leeds’ 1-0 defeat on Saturday.

After a 43rd-minute coming-together between the pair, Llorente fell to the floor clutching his ankle and writhing in apparent agony.

But the Spaniard was back on his feet almost immediately in order to berate Watkins, leading to accusations of play-acting from some fans.

Whelan was not at all impressed and said that the 27-year-old’s theatrics showcased a serious frailty in his game.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “That’s the one bit of his game that I don’t like. You don’t need to do that. I don’t wanna see a defender rolling around in that manner, especially when it was hardly a touch.

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“I want my centre-halves to be nice and big and strong, get yourself back up, show them that you’re not hurt and carry on dominating the centre-forward.

“So I don’t like that in him. A centre-half should be as strong as an ox and show no pain whatsoever. That is your role, you’re supposed to be a centre-half, strong and commanding.

“That showed a little bit of weakness and if I saw that in a centre-half I’d be laughing to myself thinking: ‘Yeah, we’ve got one here. He’s weak, he’s not up for it.’

“Maybe that’s something he can improve on because we don’t want that in the game.”

The six-time Spain international arrived at Elland Road from Real Sociedad for £18million in the summer.

The defeat on Saturday was only Llorente’s fourth appearance of the season after a succession of injuries ruled him out for most of the campaign so far.

In other news, Kieran Maguire says Leeds United will pocket £25m if fans are readmitted to stadiums next season.