Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United must replace Jack Clarke in January amid his “inevitable” recall by Tottenham.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker believes Spurs will likely take advantage of the mid-season recall clause in Clarke’s loan deal.

The teenage winger has not had a single minute of league action this season after joining the Champions League finalists in the summer for a £9million fee.

Whelan claims Leeds’ squad is too thin for Clarke to return to his parent club and not be replaced.

“It’s inevitable Jack will go back to Tottenham, and probably on loan to another club,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He wants to be playing regularly, and I’m sure that’s what Tottenham want as well.

“The problem Leeds have is we need options on the bench and he will be needed in the second half of the season when there will be more injuries and suspensions.

“We have a thin squad. We can’t afford to lose any players in January.

“The whole squad is going to be needed in the new year if we are going to get out of this league. If we haven’t got Jack after January we need to find someone else. He must be replaced.”

Clarke’s only two appearances for Leeds this season have been in the League Cup and he has been unable to force his way into the team in the Championship.

He has been a regular on the bench of late but has been overlooked by Marcelo Bielsa in favour of the likes of Jack Harrison, Helder Costa and Pablo Hernandez.

In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills claims that the club have agreed contract terms with a Premier League-ready talent.