By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan has criticised Leeds winger Jordan Botaka for being “mediocre” in the team’s 2-1 defeat to Charlton last weekend.
The 22-year-old winger was handed his first start in six months for the Yorkshire giants after impressing in recent cameo roles but struggled to reproduce that form in Saturday’s Championship encounter at Elland Road.
The former Excelsior star played the full 90 minutes but had little impact and former Elland Road striker Whelan was unimpressed with Botaka’s display.
“I didn’t think Botaka took his chance and I thought it was an average performance,” Whelan told BBC Leeds. “He had the full game to do that but there just wasn’t enough end product for me from Botaka.”
Manager Steve Evans had revealed beforehand that a remarkable change in attitude had led to Botaka’s recall to the starting eleven.
The youngster had been out in the cold at Elland Road in recent months, but has come back into the Leeds fold in recent weeks and set up the Whites’ late equaliser against Hull the previous weekend after he was introduced at half-time.
“After a cameo appearance against Wolves and an excellent 45 minutes against Hull, [Botaka]deserves to play,” said Evans speaking to LUTV about his team selection before the defeat to Charlton.
“I’ve said to him don’t let it [playing for a new contract] be a point to prove, just go and prove that point continually because there is going to be good players here next season.
“The words to Jordan are just ‘good luck son’. He’s worked really hard since I had my chat with him three, four weeks ago. Really, really hard. I’ve seen such a difference [in him] and he’s made a difference in our performances.”
Botaka took the place in the team of Lee Erwin but he may struggle to retain it for Leeds’ final match of the season against Preston on Saturday.