One of the big issues behind the scenes at Leeds United currently is what the club should do with their Spanish veteran Pablo Hernandez. The 33-year-old is out of contract at Elland Road this summer. He is the only first-teamer whose contract expires in the summer and Leeds United fans are nearly universal in their desire to see him handed a new contract.
Whilst Hernandez may be the oldest player in the Leeds squad he is also, quite simply, the most naturally gifted. Despite his advancing years there is an argument to suggest that Hernandez has still been Leeds’ best player this season and is fully deserving of a new contract.
In fact, Leeds should go further than that.
Not only should a new deal be handed to Hernandez, but the Spanish veteran should also be handed the club captaincy at Elland Road.
At the moment Liam Cooper holds the role and to say he is unpopular with the Leeds fanbase would be something of an understatement. His performances this season have not been those of a captain and fans at Leeds are sick of his below-par displays.
Hernandez always leads by an example, which is the first factor a captain needs to possess. Whilst not your traditional leader, such as a Cooper or Pontus Jansson type, Hernandez is a quieter more reserved champion of his team-mates.
Then there is his experience. What other Leeds player can say they have played in the Champions League, or in one of the greatest national teams in recent memory. Hernandez featured for Valencia in the elite club competition and has four caps and one goal for Vicente Del Bosque’s famous Spain side.
He has the respect of his fans, the respect of his team-mates and the attributes necessary to be a successful captain for Leeds United. Whites boss Paul Heckingbottom has recently admitted that talks have begun with Hernandez over a new deal and a one-year extension is surely set to be offered. The armband should come alongside it.