Leeds may benefit most from leaving Diego Llorente out vs Watford
Leeds United appear to have received a huge boost on the injury front with Marcelo Bielsa confirming that Diego Llorente is available for Saturday’s clash with Watford.
What’s the story?
Llorente has not been seen since limping off during the first-half of the Whites’ defeat to Liverpool earlier this month.
The Spaniard appeared to suffer a problem with his hamstring. His absence came as Leeds endured a torrid run of luck at centre-back.
Robin Koch was already sidelined. Pascal Struijk then picked up a three-match suspension for being sent off later in the same game.
And Luke Ayling had to be taken off in the draw with Newcastle.
Without the quartet, Charlie Cresswell stepped up and produced two superb displays.
And Struijk is now available after serving his ban. The good news is Bielsa has now confirmed that Llorente has also recovered and could be involved against the Hornets.
On paper, picking Llorente and Struijk would be the obvious choice. The pair formed arguably Leeds’ best pairing last season.
But perhaps, there is an argument that Bielsa should take a gamble and leave Llorente out of his starting lineup.
Leeds need Diego Llorente fully fit after the international break
Bielsa always tends to like players returning from injury to feature for the under-23s before they are thrown back into the first-team.
That allows them to prove their fitness and improve their sharpness before regaining their place.
Unfortunately, Llorente has not yet had that chance. And with that, perhaps the bigger gamble for Bielsa would actually be playing him this weekend.
Llorente has been Leeds’ best centre-back since his arrival. However, he has had a number of injury issues along the way.
With that in mind, Leeds may benefit from picking from Cooper, Struijk and Cresswell against Watford.
With the international break ahead, Llorente has more time to fully recover.
The last thing Leeds need is Llorente suffering another setback that rules him out for the crucial games after the break.
Of course, the Whites will have a better idea of how ready Llorente is.
But they should not feel the pressure to use him if they have any concerns about whether it is a gamble.