Leeds United: Not-so-secret ‘weapon’ finally given clearance to play

Pablo Hernandez
Pablo Hernandez
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PABLO HERNANDEZ has finally received his international clearance to feature for Leeds United, with head coach Garry Monk hailing the addition of an important “weapon” for the season ahead.

United signed the former Valencia winger on a six-month loan from Qatari club Al-Arabi last Tuesday, bringing the 31-year-old back to England two years after he quit Swansea City for the Middle East.

Monk expected the move to be officially ratified with the arrival of an international transfer certificate before Sunday’s opening Championship game at QPR and the United boss planned to use Hernandez in that match at Loftus Road.

Hernandez, however, was reduced to the role of a spectator after Qatar’s FA failed to submit the paperwork in time.

But the new recruit’s clearance has finally been confirmed, leaving Hernandez available to make his Whites debut in Wednesday night’s first round EFL Cup tie at Fleetwood Town.

“Obviously we wanted him available for Sunday’s game but through no fault of anyone on our side it wasn’t to be,” said Monk. “But it’s cleared now and that’s a big boost for everyone.

“It’s a boost for the player himself and it’s a boost for the squad.”

The former Spanish international can play in various positions - be it in the no 10 role in midfield or out wide, and Monk feels the former Valencia ace’s versatility will be crucial in the months ahead.

Monk added: “We’ve got a few in the squad that are capable of doing that (being versatile). That’s always a good weapon to have because it’s a long season and certain things can happen along the way where you need to maybe adapt and change a couple of things.

“Having him available and being the calibre of player that he is will definitely help the group.”

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BACKING: For Gjanni Alioski, right, pictured with Kalvin Phillips.

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