Leeds United news: Whelan tips Roberts for axe v West Ham

By Noel Whelan

5th Mar, 2021 | 5:12pm

Whelan touts 'brilliant' Leeds player for rare start v West Ham as Roberts tipped for axe

Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to axe Tyler Roberts from the Leeds United starting XI against West Ham.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested Pablo Hernandez could replace the 22-year-old in what would be a rare Premier League start for the 35-year-old.

Roberts has started the Whites’ last three Premier League games in place of the injured 29-year-old Rodrigo.

The summer signing is closing in on a return to action and played 45 minutes for the under-23s on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Hernandez has come on as a substitute in the final 25 minutes against Wolves, Southampton and Aston Villa.

The veteran playmaker has only made two league starts for Leeds this season, the last of which came back in November.

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Having seen West Ham line up with a three-man defence against Manchester City, Whelan suggested Leeds needed Hernandez’s “brilliance” on Monday.

“In my opinion Hernandez comes in for Tyler Roberts,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“I’m just not seeing enough from him. There’s glimpses there but he’s not hurting teams with his performances and his creativity.

“Now number 10, you’ve got to be that special player. You’ve got to be that player that can open up teams and really take the game by the scruff of the neck.

“I think when Pablo Hernandez came on the other night, he’s that player that can open up stubborn defences. Like against Aston Villa, we just didn’t seem to hurt them until Pablo came on.

“He started getting busy. He’s the one that can pick out that pass without seeing it, he knows what he’s doing. Players react to the style of play from Pablo. He makes them think and he makes them react quicker. I just don’t think Tyler Roberts does that for Leeds. 

“We’ve struggled to break down three at the back many a time, when they drop into a five. That is another reason why I think Pablo Hernandez is probably more better suited for this kind of game

“When they drop into a five, you’re going to need his skill set to pick a pass. That little bit of brilliance that Hernandez has, to be the key to unlock that padlock.”

In other news, Leeds United tipped to save £40million with new player contract.