Marcelo Bielsa provides positive Diego Llorente fitness update as Leeds United head coach waits on Liam Cooper news
LEEDS United's Spanish international defender Diego Llorente is returning to training today following two spells on the sidelines with separate injuries.
Summer recruit Llorente featured in United's match-day squad for the first time as an unused substitute in October's 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City, after which the defender headed for international duty with Spain.
The 27-year-old excelled facing Cristiano Ronaldo as Spain held Portugal to a goalless draw in an international friendly in Lisbon but the £18m Whites recruit then picked up a groin injury which led to the defender leaving the international camp early and returning to Thorp Arch.
Llorente was thought to be facing around three weeks out but Bielsa then revealed that the centre-back had recovered only to suffer a fresh setback.
After returning to fitness, Bielsa then hoped to give Llorente game time for United's under-23s before any first team action but United's head coach then lost fellow centre-back Robin Koch to a knee injury in this month's 3-1 loss at Chelsea for which a returning Llorente was on the bench.
Llorente replaced Koch in the eighth minute for his Whites debut but finished the game with a muscular injury that has kept him out since.
With Koch facing up to three months out after knee surgery, Bielsa then saw another of his centre-backs injured in Sunday's 6-2 loss at Manchester United as captain Liam Cooper picked up a knock and had to be substituted for Leif Davis with 18 minutes left.
Speaking after the defeat at Old Trafford, Bielsa said he was unsure as to the extent of Cooper's injury but provided a positive update regards former Real Sociedad defender Llorente's forthcoming return.
Bielsa said: "I didn’t know the severity of Cooper's injury and Llorente will start to train with us from tomorrow."
Taking to social media following his debut against Chelsea, Llorente said earlier this month: "My debut finally came after so much time waiting to play my first game.
"Unfortunately, the result wasn't good and I'll have to stop due to some aches. I'll work, work and work to get well as soon as possible and get back stronger!"
A message from the Editor:
Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.
We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.
Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.
With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Click here to subscribe.
For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.
Thank you Laura Collins