Noel Whelan has ripped into “scared” Leeds United winger Helda Costa and claimed he lacks “bravery” in the box.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road man also questioned the 26-year-old’s commitment to the Marcelo Bielsa’s cause.

Costa has been an ever-present for the Whites this season, but has provided just three goals and two assist in 31 Championship appearances.

And Whelan wants to see more from the Portuguese winger.

“I don’t think he’s done enough,” he told Football Insider. 

“I think we’re going back to seeing him in glimpses and he’s not consistent enough over 90 minutes.

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“From wide areas, full-backs, wingers, the delivery doesn’t have enough quality. It’s poor – we’re hitting the first man.

“That’s criminal. Under no pressure at times, to be hitting the first man, you’re taking away a goalscoring opportunity.

“I think you’ve got to stick with Costa, but he’s got to be braver getting into the box.

“At the far post [against Nottingham Forest on Saturday], Costa had a chance, but he’s gone in scared.

“Did he really want to head that ball and take one in the face and take a cut or take a broken nose? You’ve got to attack it with intent and I just don’t think he quite wants it enough at that far post.

“Sometimes you can’t just play pretty football, you need to show a bit of steel about you as well.”

Costa is set to complete transfer to Elland Road at the end of the season from parent club Wolves after initially arriving in Yorkshire on a loan deal at the end of last season.

United’s defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday now means that they hold on to an automatic promotion place by goal difference alone, and will slip out of the top two if they lose to Brentford on Tuesday evening.

In other Leeds United news, ‘His body language is terrible’ – Whelan claims Elland Road stars are ‘fearful’ of one teammate.