Leeds United defender Diego Llorente

Diego Llorente has established himself as the first name on the Leeds United team sheet, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted the 27-year-old was getting “better and better” every single week.

The summer signing has played every minute of the last seven games for Leeds, including Saturday’s 2-1 win over Manchester City.

Llorente was a defensive thorn in the side of City, making more interceptions (3) and blocking more shots (5) than any other player on the pitch [Whoscored].

He also made the joint-most clearances (5) alongside Ezgjan Alioski and Pascal Struijk.

The Spaniard had to bide his time at Elland Road, with injuries limiting him to just two appearances before February.

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However, Whelan has suggested he is now a nailed on started under Marcelo Bielsa.

“He keeps getting better and better,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“For me, he’s my number-one choice at centre-half right now. He is showing all these skills, running out with the ball, defensively he’s getting a lot stronger, a lot tougher.

“He’s also a lot more aggressive and winning a lot of his duels.

“He’s the first on the team sheet for me. It’s all about whether it’s going to be Struijk or Liam Cooper next to him.”

Leeds United defender

Llorente has a total of nine appearances under his belt for Leeds so far.

He was forced to adapt to a change of centre-half partner against City after Liam Cooper was sent off just before half time.

In other news, Paddy Kenny claims one Leeds United star is destined for a Champions League final.