Departing Leeds United duo typify progress of Marcelo Bielsa's Whites - David Prutton
EVERY football club is always evolving, meaning players come and go.
Some play small parts, some play bigger parts and some play lead roles.
When you look at what Pablo Hernandez has done at Leeds, he was very much one of the main attractions at the club.
He brought a lot to the club with his background and his history and then, when you see him playing football, you see a player who can create chances and is very comfortable on the ball.
He is the very ethos of a team player who was a vital cog as and when Leeds United needed him.
As Leeds were moving forward from the men that came before Marcelo Bielsa Pablo probably hasn’t got as many minutes under his belt as he would have wanted.
But I think that is purely down to timing in terms of the timing of Marcelo coming in and the timing of life.
This is a group of players that have been thoroughly worked and worked on and Pablo has been a massive part of that.
But, when you do get to a certain stage in your career as a footballer, then time does start to toll.
I don’t think that has been a massive issue with Pablo.
It’s just that the energy, the enthusiasm and the intensity of the team means that only the very fittest at their very peak look like they might survive and he has been a huge part of that.
Gaetano Berardi you would say possibly less so but comparison is the thief of joy as what Gaetano has done on his own terms has been vital to Leeds moving forward and getting back into the Premier League.
You can’t really compare the two players but they are moving on at the same time.
They played in different positions and had different effects going forward and defensively on the team.
There was an early part in Berardi’s career where I don’t think it is unfair to say that he was erratic.
You would look at goals across games and whilst it wasn’t a regular thing, he did have that rick in him.
But it’s credit to him and the management for ironing out those instances.
You have obviously got to look at the volume of minutes and games played and that comes into it as well.
But Berardi managed to work himself into a reliable footsoldier when it came to how Marcelo wanted to use him.
As time wore on, regardless of where he got chucked in, he always managed to do a job and it reflects also on what Marcelo has managed to do.
Look at the club’s player of the year, Stuart Dallas, as an example - playing in different positions across the team but always being effective.
Then there is Gjanni Alioski, to a degree.
He came in as a winger and has ended up being a left-back.
Marcelo has managed to make players very malleable but also efficient and effective in different positions.
Berardi isn’t the headline maker that garners all of the plaudits but that’s just the very nature of what a football team is.
Not everyone is a headline act but everyone plays their part because it is, literally, a team game.
But with any player that is moving on from Leeds under Marcelo, I don’t think there will be many that can look back and say that they are not a better player now then when he came in.
The players have improved comprehensively and, if they haven’t, then they are not there as they have been jettisoned as and when.
But Berardi has been part of the squad and it has been imperative that the squad as whole has been there.
We know that Marcelo is not prone to changing too much week on week when it comes to the league.
The cup might be different where he changes things up.
But, for the vast proportion of him being in charge, he has called upon the same nucleus of players who have managed to keep those levels.
Part of that is how intense training will be and that will be from one to 25 or however big the squad is.
It will be day in, day out and the players will be pushing each other in pre-season and pushing each other in any kind of the fitness side of it.
You have to have a squad that is comprehensively chomping at the bit to make sure your standards are set.
Without bracketing Berardi with a load of other players, anyone who has been part of that squad that has got Leeds back to the Premier League has played their part.
The departures of Berardi and Hernandez are just the nature of the beast and that beast is Leeds United that has seen infinitely more average players than these two come and go and has seen better players come and go.
That’s just the very nature of it.
But these two were part of the class of 2020 that got the team back into the Premier League and, to a man, they will always be remembered fondly.
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Thank you Laura Collins