Noel Whelan has criticised the decision not to hand young winger Clarke Oduor more game time during Leeds United’s pre-season trip to Australia.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road striker questioned why the 20-year-old was taken as part of the travelling squad if he was not going to be handed minutes against Manchester United and Western Sydney Warriors.
The winger, who played a starring role for the under-23 side last season, managed to play for the final eight minutes of Saturday’s clash with the Australian side, having been left unused against the Red Devils.
Whelan insisted that everyone who had made the trip should have been given meaningful game time to help both their and the club’s pre-season preparations, with the rest of the squad working on their fitness back in Yorkshire.
He went on to suggest it was unfair not to give the youngster a crack in the first-team.
Asked about Oduor’s lack of minutes down under, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think everybody should be given a crack. If you’re taken out there, you expect to get minutes under your belt and a bit more experience and game time. You could have used as many subs as you want, it’s pre-season.
“At least give him that opportunity, at least give him the game time that he needs to get a good pre-season under their belt and football time in a real match. As a young player that’s done really well for the under-23s, he should be given the opportunity.
“You don’t want to fly all the way out to Australia and play mere minutes. Everybody’s got to have the same amount, the equal amount, the fair amount of time to prove themselves.”
Oduor has just three minutes of competitive first-team experience at Elland Road, coming on as a late substitute in the FA Cup defeat to Queens Park Rangers last season.
He was a regular in Carlos Corberan’s under-23 side though, helping the Whites secure both the Professional Development League North and national titles.