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Former Leeds United defender Alex Bruce believes that Leeds duo Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez will thrive in the Premier League if the club are to win promotion to the top-flight this season.
Out of the pair, Hernandez is the one who has experienced Premier League football during his career with former club Swansea City. The Spanish midfielder made 57 Premier League appearances for the Swans over two seasons before departing the club to join Dubai side Al-Nasr. Since joining Leeds United back in the 2016/2017 season, the Spaniard has become a key part as the club look to end their 16-year absence from the Premier League.
Despite being at the tender age of 34, Hernandez has been vital for Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa with the Spaniard often being the main threat in Leeds United’s forward play this season. Hernandez is partnered with Klich with both players looking to bomb on to create for their centre forward or one another.
Phillips on the other hand has had no experience in the Premier League during his short career to date but his performances in recent years have warranted interest from 20-time Premier League champions Manchester United. The Leeds academy graduate has come on leaps and bounds under Bielsa being deployed in a holding midfield role which has been crucial to Leeds United’s success this season as they top the Championship table.
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Former Leeds man Bruce thinks that these two are the players that will look most comfortable in the Premier League, should the club earn promotion this campaign. He told Football Insider: “I think the outstanding one is obviously Phillips, the midfielder. I think he’s a very, very good player.
“You’ve got the likes of Hernandez who have got the pedigree in the game and I’m sure will take to the Premier League.
“When you can handle playing for a club like Leeds United at any level and do well, especially in the Championship, and do well consistently in front of the big crowd and the pressure it brings, I think that because of those pressures they’ll probably find it easier than most making the step up.”
Hernandez and Phillips have both been key in the Leeds United midfield this season with their performances firing them to the top of the table with just nine games left to play this season. They currently find themselves a point ahead of West Bromwich Albion in the title race and seven clear of Fulham for a place in the top two and with just nine games left to play it would take a miraculous collapse from Leeds United’s point of view for them to squander promotion.
Should the season restart at the end of next month, many Leeds fans will be highlighting the game with Fulham as a real opportunity to put one foot in the Premier League for next season. Should they beat the Londoners at Elland Road, it would look highly unlikely that Scott Parker’s side would be able to catch the West Yorkshire outfit.
Although Bruce is right in many ways, Phillips and Hernandez will both be excellent in the Premier League, you can’t help but feel that there are numerous players in the Leeds United squad that will cut it at the highest level that English football has to offer. Hernandez and Phillips are standout performers for Leeds this season but without the likes of Jack Harrison, Luke Ayling and Ben White then the club certainly wouldn’t be in the strong position they are now.
Both Phillips and Hernandez both have qualities within their game which will allow them to be successful in the Premier League. Hernandez is a proven player in the Premier League with his time at Swansea showing that and for Phillips to be linked with an established Premier League side in previous windows suggests that he is already at a level to be one of the leading players in his position in the Premier League.
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