By Noel Whelan

1st Oct, 2021 | 8:00pm

Whelan tips Bielsa to axe 'exceptional' Leeds player v Watford after Llorente reveal

Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to axe the “exceptional” Charlie Cresswell from the Leeds United starting XI against Watford on Saturday.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested Diego Llorente or Pascal Struijk would partner Liam Cooper at centre-back.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Marcelo Bielsa confirmed the Spanish defender is available after his injury layoff.

Meanwhile, Struijk is back in contention after serving a three-game ban.

With Robin Koch and Luke Ayling also absent against West Ham last week, Bielsa handed Cresswell his first Premier League start.

Whelan raved over the teenager’s display.

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However, he suggested Bielsa would drop him for the visit of the Hornets.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Cresswell’s calmness on the ball, his positioning sense, the way he was talking as well and that communication was exceptional for a young man who’s just come straight into the side.

“There was so much to adore and applauded about his performance. It was not an easy game to come into for your first Premier League start.

“It was tense circumstances because it was a game that was a big game for everybody. I think he can hold his head up high with that performance.

“He has shown what a good player he is and what he is going to be in the future for Leeds.

“As for Saturday. I think there is probably a good case Llorente or Struijk will come in alongside Liam Cooper. I think we need that bit more experience in the side.

“That is the only reason Bielsa will leave Charlie out. Because of that experience and Premier League know-how. We kind of need that at the back.

“Those kinds of leaders can be a big difference in a big game. It’s a big game coming up at the weekend.”

In other news, injury expert shocked as another Leeds United star ruled out.