By Noel Whelan

31st Oct, 2020 | 8:00am

'Wow' - Exclusive: Whelan in awe of Leeds player in line for rare start v Leicester

Pablo Hernandez’s cameos against Wolves and Aston Villa prove he’s nearing a return to the Leeds United starting XI, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds forward and boyhood Whites fan said the Spaniard is back to his best after recovering from a groin injury.

Hernandez was named in the starting XI against Fulham in Leeds’ second game of the season but picked up the injury in the warm-up and missed the match

The 35-year-old then missed the Yorkshire giants’ next three fixtures but returned to the squad against Wolves and Villa, playing a combined 26 minutes in the games.

His only start of the season came on the opening day against champions Liverpool when Leeds lost 4-3 – their only league defeat of the season so far.

Asked by Football Insider whether Hernandez is nearing a second first-team start, Whelan said: “I think so, it takes a bit of time when you’ve been out with niggles.

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“The time he’s come off the bench he’s busy, he’s Pablo. What you see is what you get. He wants to create, he’s available for the ball all the time.

“Very, very forward-thinking you see the quality he brings to side, even if he only comes on for a very short amount of time.

“You see the subs and you think ‘wow, he’s on the bench’. It’s quickly becoming a Premier League squad of players from the starting 11 to the bench.”

Hernandez played an hour as Leeds Under-23s beat Norwich City 2-0 at the weekend.

The attacker was a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s side that won the Championship last season as he scored nine goals and provided a further nine assists in 36 games in the competition.

In other news, Football Insider can REVEAL a Leeds United 24-year-old frozen out by Bielsa is in line to be binned.