Exclusive: Whelan claims senior promotion 'gathering pace' for Leeds teenager


Noel Whelan has tipped young Leeds United defender Leif Davis to step up and become back-up to the first-team centre-backs under Marcelo Bielsa this season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker and lifelong fan of the club revealed how much the 19-year-old had impressed him in the League Cup defeat to Stoke City, the youngster playing the full 90 minutes at both centre-half and left-back.

However, while he played every minute against both the Potters and Salford City, he has been handed just five minutes of Championship action and has not been included in the last five matchday squads.

Despite his lack of game time in the Championship, Whelan insists that the youngster has clearly got a bright future ahead of him, tipping him to act as a third or fourth-choice centre back behind Liam Cooper and Ben White.

Whelan told Football Insider: “What a good performance. He’s got a real opportunity to be that other centre-half alongside Berardi if anyone is injured between Cooper and White.

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“He really impressed me, playing centre-half – he’s only had a couple of opportunities and the Salford game I was quite impressed as well. He seems like he’s maturing into a good player and I’m sure he’s going to mature even more with the likes of Ben White and Cooper there.

“There’s so much he could learn from those two and so long as he keeps progressing in the right way, he could become a really good centre half. We don’t have any left-footers, bar Cooper. Maybe he can see that as his opportunity to get some first-team games. He’s definitely got the talent. It’s gathering pace and I like that.”

Davis has a total of eight appearances for the senior side at Leeds, with four of those coming in the Championship last season, once in the starting XI.

Marcelo Bielsa has also used natural midfielder Kalvin Phillips at the heart of the defence, including in the first 45 minutes against Stoke City.

In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has torn into one senior player who has ignored Bielsa’s instructions.