Danny Mills has claimed Leeds United stalwart Pablo Hernandez will have to settle for a bit-part role and the occasional start this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Whites and England full-back suggested the 35-year-old will find it difficult to get into the starting XI because of the performances of Raphinha and Rodrigo Moreno.
Hernandez’s eight-minute cameo against Newcastle United on Wednesday night was his first appearance since reacting angrily to being substituted against Leicester City at the beginning of November.
The Spaniard managed to grab two assists against the Magpies in Leeds’ 5-2 thrashing but was left on the bench for their 6-2 humiliation against Manchester United on Sunday.
He then played an hour, and scored, in Leeds Under-23s’ 7-1 victory over Fulham in Premier League 2 on Monday afternoon.
Asked by Football Insider whether he was surprised Hernandez did not play at Old Trafford despite his impressive display against Newcastle, Mills said: “He’s a quality player but I still think it will be difficult for him to get into the starting XI with Raphinha and Moreno in those sort of positions.
“They’re two big signings that have come in and obviously are a lot younger and more athletic.
“It’s a squad game and you need players of good ability that can come on and change the game and he’s a great one to have.
“He may well be used sparingly in the odd game but the way Leeds are playing now I don’t see him getting too many starts.
“He might have to be content coming off the bench quite regularly and the odd start here or there.”
Hernandez featured in 36 Championship games for Leeds last season, including 27 starts, as they secured the title and return to the Premier League.
This term he has been limited to just two Premier League starts and has struggled with injuries.