Marcelo Bielsa has no doubts about the qualities and longevity of Pablo Hernandez after Leeds handed him a new contract that takes him beyond his 37th birthday.
The Spanish playmaker became the latest Leeds star to commit his future to Elland Road when he was handed a two-and-a-half-year extension earlier this week, keeping him at United until summer 2022.
Hernandez, at 34 years of age, is at an age when many players start to think about slowing down, but in his own words, the player enjoyed “the most complete season of his career” last time out as he scored 12 goals and assisted 12 more as Leeds came within a whisker of securing promotion.
Asked for his thoughts on his new deal, Leeds boss Bielsa said: “I think the extension is deserved. He has a lot of impact on the team, every supporter recognises him. Everybody values him. He is respected by his teammates. I think the same.”
When asked if Hernandez would be able to make the same impact in the Premier League were Leeds to gain promotion, Bielsa continued: “I don’t like to imagine something which hasn’t happened yet, but I can tell you if Pablo had to play in the Premier League, I think he can do it without problems.”
On what his performance levels will be like when his new deal ends and the player will be 37, the Leeds chief continued: “The footballer performance has a very good level, very competitive. You can control it daily, you have to control it daily or he verifies, every day, how they work, how they run in every situation.
“When I see Pablo, Helder [Costa], [Jack] Clarke or [Jack] Harrison I compare them. [Ben] White, [Gaetano] Berardi, [Liam] Cooper and [Luke] Ayling compared too.
“When I analyse the performance of one player I compare them with four in their same position. Pablo is always at the level of his teammates and after he confirms this on the pitch. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow with nobody.”