'Vitally important' - Exclusive: Phillips reacts as Leeds agree personal terms with 26-yr-old
Kevin Phillips claimed it is “vitally important” that Leeds United sign an attacking midfielder like top target Rodrigo De Paul to take the pressure off Pablo Hernandez next season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Sunderland and West Brom striker suggested that the Whites may run into trouble if the 35-year-old loses form or suffers an injury this year.
The Spanish creative’s 36 appearances in the Championship last season yielded nine goals and nine assists.
Hernandez spent two notable spells on the sidelines during the 2019/20 campaign and his absence from Marcelo Bielsa’s side was notable. With Hernandez Leeds averaged 2.22 points per game but managed just 1.3 without.
When asked by Football Insider if the Argentine playmaker could be the man to succeed Hernandez at Elland Road, Phillips said:
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“Leeds cannot keep relying on Hernandez because at some point he will have a bad run or an injury. We have seen it before where players can go missing for two or three months – you need backup.
“Bielsa is not stupid and he will know that they cannot rely on the same players every week. They need to add to the squad and bring in players that give competition. It is vitally important.”
De Paul was the standout performer in a Udinese side that finished 13th in Serie A last season – his 34 appearances yielded seven goals and six assists.
The Argentina international, who has four years left on his contract with the Italian side, has been capped 17 times by his country.