Noel Whelan claimed that Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi could earn himself a new contract by proving to the club they need to hold onto him.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-Leeds attacker shared that he thought Berardi would get the opportunity to submit performances that could see him handed a new deal due to Liam Cooper being out injured.
Berardi’s current Leeds deal is due to expire at the end of the season and the club are reported as being yet to begin talks with the defender about a possible contract extension.
Whelan shared he believes the 31-year-old centre-back could see his stay at Elland Road extended but admitted he doubted whether the defender would be good enough to regularly feature in the Premier League if Marcelo Bielsa’s side win promotion.
When asked whether Berardi deserves a new contract, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think at the moment it’s about letting Gaetano get on with it then assessing him up until Christmas time.
“We’ve got Liam Cooper out injured and after Berardi’s red card against Millwall was rescinded, he has the opportunity to go out there and put in some performances to earn that new contract from Leeds United as he can prove to the club that he is a player they need.
“To be quite honest, I don’t think he’d be good enough to be a regular for the first-team in the Premier League, I think we’ve seen many teams go up, for example, Villa this season, that have changed both centre-halves as you can bring in new players with that money you get from promotion.
“So I can’t see him being a regular in the first-team if we do get promoted to the Premier League.”
Berardi has played six times across all competitions for Leeds this season and has managed to grab one goal and register one assist in the process.
The 31-year-old has been at Elland Road since joining from Italian club Sampdoria in 2014 and has racked up 136 appearances for the Whites in that time.
In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent is baffled by the weird situation one Leeds player finds themselves in.