It’s fair to say Diego Llorente hasn’t enjoyed the happiest of starts to life at Leeds United.
The Spain international has been out of action for the majority of this Premier League season with injury, with his only appearance for Marcelo Bielsa’s side coming against Chelsea back in early December.
But having recently returned to training, an opportunity may be on the horizon, especially after his performance for the club’s U23s side on Monday night.
Llorente got a crucial 45 minutes under his belt against Stoke City, and put some icing on the cake by seeing his first-half header prove to be the winner.
In their post-match ratings, Leeds Live gave the 6 foot 1 gem a nine out of ten, saying: “Hardly put a foot wrong on his return from injury, Llorente was everything a centre-back should be. Composed in possession, he attempted plenty of passes into the channels as well as reading opposition play excellently.
“The Spaniard made a number of interceptions and never looked troubled by Stoke’s pressure. He capped his 45-minute display with a well-taken header, nodding in from Kalvin Phillips’ floated delivery.”
Before the U23s’ clash, The Athletic journalist Phil Hay took to Twitter to declare that especially with Robin Koch missing for the Whites, Llorente has “got to be in the reckoning”.
wondering what he has to do is probably a bit strong. He’s hardly been fit since he signed. But as a Spain international, he’s got to be in the reckoning (especially with Koch missing)
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) January 18, 2021
And after seeing him score the winner and help the U23s keep a clean sheet, Bielsa will surely be tempted to throw Llorente into his starting line-up in the Premier League very soon.
Next week’s clash against Newcastle presents the perfect opportunity for him to do just that. It may be a long time coming but Llorente may finally get his chance to prove why Leeds spent big money to bring him to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.