Leeds United's Diego Llorente on Spain bench as France-born defender makes full international debut against Portugal

LEEDS United centre back Diego Llorente is on the Spain bench as France born-defender Aymeric Laporte starts at centre-back for Friday night's friendly against Portugal in Madrid.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 6:13 pm

Agen-born Manchester City defender Laporte has switched international allegiances from France to Spain and his makes his Spain debut in Friday's warm up game for the Euros (kick-off 6.30pm).

Laporte, 27, has represented France at youth levels up to the under 21s and has received call ups to the senior squad but had yet to be handed his senior international debut.

The defender was also eligible to represent Spain, being of Basque descent through his great-grandparents and having carved out his early career in the country for Athletic Bilbao.

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Laporte has now been given Spanish citizenship and has switched allegiances to be part of a Spain squad missing a big name centre back in Sergio Ramos who was omitted from Luis Enrique's squad for the Euros.

In what is their penultimate warm up game ahead of the competition, Laporte now partners Villareal's Pau Torres at the heart of Spain's defence against Portugal as Barcelona's Sergio Busquets lines up in the holding midfield role which Llorente can also fulfill.

Llorente missed United's final game of the Premier League season at home to West Brom having been given early leave by Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa ahead of his bid to shine at this summer's Euros.

Bielsa did not want to run the risk of Llorente suffering a recurrence of a muscular injury having come off during the interval of United's penultimate game of the season at Southampton.

ON THE BENCH: Leeds United's Spanish international centre-back Diego Llorente, right. Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images.

Llorente had started his 13th Whites game in a row in the clash at St Mary's and his form upon returning from earlier injury troubles put him in boss Luis Enrique's squad for the Euros.

But Llorente's Whites team mate and record Leeds signing Rodrigo was overlooked and he is not involved for this evening's friendly for which Llorente is on the bench.

United's Gjanni Alioski starts for North Macedonia in their Friday evening friendly against Kazakhstan in Skopje.

Alioski is lining up on the left wing.

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Thank you Laura Collins