Alex McLeish has hailed Pablo Hernandez as a “sensational” player who can defy age and still make a huge impact for Leeds United this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Scotland, Rangers and Aston Villa manager explained why he is a huge admirer of the playmaker after watching plenty of Leeds in recent years.
Hernandez returned to the Leeds squad for last night’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves after missing three matches due to injury.
He did not make the starting XI but came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining as United chased a late equaliser.
McLeish is convinced Hernandez will have a big role, not just on the pitch but also in the dressing room with his influence on young players.
“He’s had a right good career in England, hasn’t he?” McLeish told Football Insider. “He’s been around since those Swansea days and when you see most of Leeds’ sensational games last season, he was at the heart of a lot of it; goals, assists, just an all round terrific footballer and an intelligent footballer who knows his way around the pitch.
“Whether Bielsa spells him at 35 years of age, you would certainly not expect a player to have his best legs.
“I don’t know, he might defy the stats, Gordon Strachan went on till he was 40 so why can’t Hernandez if he looks after himself the way Gordon then he’s got a chance?
“He will be like a talisman to Leeds and also, in terms of his experience, a lot of younger
players in the team will look up to him.
“He’s also got that strength in his armoury not just on the field but he will be important to a lot of the kids in that dressing room.”
Hernandez has had just 77 minutes of action in Leeds’ five Premier League matches this season and was not involved in their League Cup defeat to Hull City.