Boost for Man United as Leeds sweat on the fitness of star defender ahead of PL opener

Leeds United sweating on the fitness of Diego Llorente ahead of season opener against Manchester United

According to Leeds Live, Manchester United have been handed a major boost against Leeds United ahead of their season opener on August 14.

The Red Devils begin their 2021/22 Premier League campaign against the Yorkshire based outfit at the Theatre of Dreams on August 14. Given the long-standing rivalry between the two, it promises to be a cracking affair that could set the tone for the season to come.

One man who could miss out on the opening day is Leeds defender Diego Llorente. The Spaniard’s pre-season preparations were cut short when he was forced off during the first half of the friendly against Real Betis. He received treatment on the field for what appeared to be either an ankle or knee issue and was promptly taken off.

Leeds United sweating on the fitness of Diego Llorente ahead of season opener against Manchester United
Leeds take on United in the season opener on August 14. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The player however did not look to be in too much discomfort and Marcelo Bielsa too admitted later on that the withdrawal was largely precautionary. Having been part of the Spanish squad at the Euros, it remains to be seen if the 27-year-old has been afforded enough rest ahead of another gruelling campaign.

Llorente struggled with injuries last season, missing a significant chunk of the campaign. He however returned to action towards the end and established himself as one of the first players in the starting XI. Llorente missed Leeds’ 6-2 mauling at Old Trafford last season but played the whole 90 minutes in the return fixture that ended 0-0.

To add to Bielsa’s woes, another central defender Pascal Struijk also picked up a knock in the same game. Leeds are already without captain and first-choice centre-back Liam Cooper. The Scottish ace is yet to feature for the club this pre-season.

Leeds United sweating on the fitness of Diego Llorente ahead of season opener against Manchester United
The fiercest of rivals

With fans set to return, the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane could make their debuts that night. One man who looks set to miss out is Marcus Rashford, who is set to undergo surgery.

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This will be the first time since 1970 that Leeds will be visiting us on the opening day. The Whites took home the bragging rights that night, thanks to a goal by Mick Jones. Hopefully, history will not repeat itself this time around.

It promises to be a high-octane match between two teams who have an innate dislike for each other. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will need to be at their best against Marcelo Bielsa and his energetic side.