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From fourth tier in Spain to Leeds United debut for 21-year-old Hugo Diaz

Leeds United
Photo: Getty Images

Championship

From fourth tier in Spain to Leeds United debut for 21-year-old Hugo Diaz

The 21-year-old came on as a sub against Preston North End last night.

Leeds United were on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat last night, as Preston North End defeated them at Deepdale.

Kemar Roofe had given Leeds the lead. However, a second-half capitulation saw Paul Gallagher, Sean Maguire and Alan Browne get the goals that sealed the victory for the home side.

Leeds were also forced into drastic action regarding their defensive crisis.

With Luke Ayling, Matthew Pennington, Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi, Conor Shaughnessy and Laurens De Bock all currently missing from the action it was a makeshift back-line.

Winger Stuart Dallas started at right-back, with Vurnon Anita pulled into the cold to left-back.

Pontus Jansson, perhaps Leeds’ only real ever-present defender this season, was partnered by youngster Paudie O’Connor in only his second Leeds first-team appearance.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

So when Jansson had to go off with a head injury, it left Leeds in more trouble. The player who came on might have baffled some less knowledgeable Leeds fans.

Leeds brought in 21-year-old Spaniard Hugo Diaz to make his English league debut.

It was a surprise to see his name on the team-sheet but it is a measure of the defensive crisis at Leeds he was present.

So what do we know about Diaz?

The 21-year-old came through the youth ranks at Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna, playing in their Juvenil A and Deportivo B sides – even captaining the side at times.

In the winter of 2017, he joined Tercera Division side Silva SD on loan, in the fourth tier of Spanish football. He helped the club finish ninth in their respective league.

After that, Diaz was released by Deportivo and that’s where Leeds stepped in. With a new recruitment philosophy under the director of football Victor Orta and a new under-23 coach in Carlos Corberan, both Spanish, players from Iberia were quickly on their way to West Yorkshire.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The young Galician defender was one such player, joining Leeds in August.

His start at the club was badly disrupted by a knee injury which ruled him out of action for two months. But he soon returned to the fold and gained solid reviews for his performances with the under-23s throughout February and March.

Diaz did his best versus Preston, but it was tough against a good team at such short notice for the young Spaniard to really get into a groove. With Aston Villa coming up on Friday he might need to be called upon yet again this week.

Leeds fans will just hope he can be ready in case he gets the nod.

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Sports journalist based in Bristol. Everton fan for my sins.

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