Noel Whelan has urged Leeds United to utilise Alfie McCalmont after it was revealed the midfielder was close to landing a pivotal role this season.

The former Elland Road forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, stressed the importance of integrating the likes of the 20-year-old next season.

Leeds Live claim that Marcelo Bielsa told Victor Orta that McCalmont had the potential to replace Kalvin Phillips if holding midfielder was sold last summer.

However, the Northern Ireland Under-21 international has been limited to just two senior appearances this term – both in the EFL Cup.

Whelan wants Leeds’ youngsters to be given more opportunities so they are ready when called upon if injuries or suspensions were to occur.

“McCalmont I have seen a few times now and he is very capable,” he told Football Insider.

“He was tipped to replace Kalvin or be that second string to Kalvin throughout the season.

“A very good player, great on the ball and a good football mind.

“He is one that is learning his trade from watching Kalvin and being in and around that first-team setup.

“It is important that these young lads are integrated. It is vital for their progression and to give them confidence to step in when needed because there will be injuries and suspensions.

“Use them – that is why you have an academy and youth policy.”

McCalmont has one year left on his current deal at Elland Road.

However, the club hold the option to extend it by a further year and if exercised the midfielder would be contracted until the summer of 2022.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that club have set their sights on Argentina international who has £12million release clause.