Danny Mills has claimed Diego Llorente may only return to the Leeds United starting XI in March after he has played for their Under-23s side.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites and England defender claimed the Spain international has a huge psychological barrier to overcome after struggling with injuries all season.
Llorente has played just two Premier League games for the Yorkshire giants since his summer move from Real Sociedad but returned to the bench against Wolves on Friday night after recovering from his latest setback.
He picked up a hamstring injury just 10 minutes into his full Leeds debut against Newcastle United in January.
Asked how long it could be before Bielsa puts Llorente back into the Leeds starting XI, Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “He’ll make sure that he’s absolutely spot on in training and he’ll probably give him a couple of under-23s games just to look at him and build his confidence.
“That’s the biggest thing sometimes. Physically, everything can be fine. You can go through all the testing and it’s all bang on and it’s not a problem. But you’ve got to overcome that psychological block of ‘ooh, is it going to go? If I do this, will it stand up to pressure?’
“Sometimes you just need a couple of games and they’ll be something in that game. For the first bit you’re thinking about it ‘can I feel it? Is it strong? Is it Ok?’ then all of sudden you do something on instinct and you think ‘ooh, it’s fine. I’m alright now.’ and that’s the barrier you’ve got to get over.”
Leeds’ Under23s are currently top of Premier League 2 Division 2 and their next two fixtures are against Crystal Palace on Monday 1 March and then Wolves the following Friday.
Llorente played the first half and scored the only goal of Leeds Under 23s 1-0 win over Stoke City last month ahead of his full first team debut at St. James’ Park.