By Noel Whelan

8th Jan, 2020 | 8:00am

'He's an excellent player' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts as Leeds now try to sign 27yo on loan

Noel Whelan heaped praise on Sheffield United midfielder Luke Freeman with Leeds United in pursuit of his services.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former Leeds striker shared he has always rated Freeman and thought he was an absolute standout player when featuring for Queens Park Rangers.

It was previously revealed by Football Insider that the Whites are keeping tabs on Freeman with a view to a loan move in the current window.

Whelan admitted he could understand why Leeds would want to make a move for Freeman as he is an excellent player who’d lighten the workload on Pablo Hernandez.

However, the ex-striker quickly added that Marcelo Bielsa’s side should be prioritising bringing a striker through the door before anything else.

When asked if signing Freeman would be genius as you wouldn’t have to worry about Pablo Hernandez staying fit as much, Whelan told Football Insider: “No, you wouldn’t and he’s an excellent player and I’ve said that from the word go since watching him for QPR as he was an absolute standout player.

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“You know he hasn’t had much game time at Sheffield United, he’s very creative, he’s always busy, he certainly has the quality.

“He goes past people, links up play nicely, so again another good player but we do need strikers first and foremost.

“I understand why you’d want to go in for him because he’s an excellent player and many Championship clubs would love to have him on their books for the second part of the season.

“But we’re crying out for strikers, not wide players.”

Freeman left QPR to join Sheffield United in the Premier League in the summer and has so far struggled to feature.

The creative playmaker has only managed 11 appearances and has failed to score or register an assist for the Blades.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have climbed into pole position to sign striker this month.