Phillips: This may be real reason for Llorente's 'awful' Leeds United defending
Kevin Phillips has blamed rustiness for Diego Llorente’s “awful” display in Leeds United v West Ham on Monday night.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Premier League goalscorer backed the Spain international’s quality to shine through once he gets a regular run of games under his belt.
Llorente has struggled with injuries since his summer move from Real Sociedad and had made just one Premier League start before last month.
He has now started the Whites’ last three games and has caught the eye for his impressive ability to pick a pass.
However, in Monday’s defeat, he was at fault for West Ham’s second goal when he lost Craig Dawson who popped up at the back post to head in from a corner.
Jesse Lingard had opened the scoring just minutes earlier when he finished a rebound after his penalty was saved by Illan Meslier.
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“It was awful defending for both, they were soft goals to concede,” Phillips told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“When you haven’t played for a long time and you come back, no matter how experienced you are, you will be rusty.
“Llorente got caught sleeping the other night but the big thing for him is that he is playing games.
“On the ball he is great, he travels out with it well and is very positive in his pass selection. It always looks like he wants to play football.
“It shows that he is a top-quality player so it is just about keeping him fit. His experience and class will shine through.
“It would be unfair to dig him out too much because he has not played much football. Judge him after he’s played 10 games on the bounce.”