When all is said and done in Pablo Hernandez’s career he may well go down as one of Leeds United’s greatest ever players.
At the end of last season, the Spaniard became the first player in the club’s history to win three Player of the Year awards, and even at the age of 35, he’s one of the club’s most important stars.
Unfortunately, father time remains undefeated, and years of playing at the top-level is taking a toll on Hernandez’s body.
The Spaniard has missed the majority of the season so far due to an injury problem, and his absence has given us a preview of what life at Elland Road will be like once he retires.
Strangely, despite Hernandez being one of United’s best players, they’ve been absolutely fine without him.
Hernandez has played just 68 minutes in the league this season, meaning that the Whites have played 298 minutes without him, and the team have been absolutely fine during that period.
They’ve won seven points from their first four games, and they’ve had a great mix of youth and experience in Hernandez’s position, being able to call upon both Tyler Roberts and Rodrigo to play in his number 10 role.
Of course, Leeds will likely be a better side with Hernandez back in the fold, Pep Clotet quipped last season: “Leeds with Pablo are a different team than without Pablo. Both fantastic but one better than the other.”
But at least now they know they can hold their own in the Premier League without their star man.
Hernandez’s age will eventually get the better of him, but his football IQ still makes him a valuable commodity at the age of 35, with one of his closest friends Xabi Galvan describing him as “very intelligent”, and while that sort of genius will be tough to replace, it seemingly won’t be a massive blow.