The Whites have confirmed veteran midfielder Hernandez will be leaving Elland Road this summer following a five-year spell during which he slotted in as the creative hub of the team, playing a key role in their return back to Premier League.

 

While Leeds are losing a player with a wealth of experience, it now opens up a place for another star to step up into, with a clutch of Under-23s starlets keen for first team football under boss Marcelo Bielsa.

 

 

Ex-White Whelan has lauded Hernandez for being a faithful servant of the club during his Elland Road stint and admitted it will be hard to replace him.

 

The former striker tipped Gerhardt, 19, to be knocking on the door for the number 10 role in the side in the coming seasons, and stressed he hopes the teenager will be getting more first team opportunities next season.

 

 

“He [Hernandez] has been a joy to watch”, Whelan said on BBC Radio Leeds.

 

“He is going to be hard to replace that is for sure.

 

 

“I would love to have him back in his prime, he would make us ten times better as well.

 

“But look, we have got to look now towards the future and the longevity, which is a younger player coming in.

 

“We have got Gelhardt, who I am really excited about seeing he gets his opportunity.

 

“Hopefully he will be knocking on the door next season as well, to put pressure in that number 10 spot.”

 

Gelhardt is yet to make his senior bow for Leeds, but made the bench eight times in the top flight this season.