Exclusive: Noel Whelan tips 20-yr-old for Leeds debut next month
Noel Whelan has tipped Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa to give fans their first taste of “really interesting” new signing Rafa Mujica in the League Cup.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road ace and lifelong Leeds fan has suggested that Bielsa will use the clash against Salford City in August to bed in some of the under-23 talents and tipped the new boy to be among those.
Leeds confirmed on Thursday the capture of 20-year-old forward Mujica and 18-year-old midfielder Guillermo Amor on free transfers from Barcelona, the former initially joining the under-23s and the latter the under-18s.
Insisting they will need time and support to bed themselves in at Elland Road, Whelan has tipped a first-team breakthrough for Mujica, suggesting that the League Cup clash against Salford could be the ideal opportunity for his senior debut.
“This is a different move, a move where they’re going to need people around them and football’s a great way of doing that,” Whelan told Football Insider.
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“They’ll be integrated at times into the first team setup, I’m sure, as most of the 23s are on the training ground and once your football’s going well, everything else seems to fall into place.
“They are ones for the future but we may see one of them this season at some point. The opportunity of the League Cup’s always there, Marcelo Bielsa likes to keep those kind of (under-23) lads for the cup to give them the experience that they need because you’re going to be playing in real games.
“When you come to League Cup games, that’s the kind of experience you need. It’s going to be a really interesting one (versus Salford City).”
Leeds face Salford in front of the television cameras at Moor Lane on Tuesday 13 August, with just the opening two games of their Championship campaign coming before their visit to Greater Manchester.
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