By Noel Whelan

24th Feb, 2020 | 5:00pm

Exclusive: Whelan head over heels for 'Crucial' Leeds star who proved a point v Reading

Noel Whelan was left head over heels for Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla after his performance in the club’s 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

The former Elland Road striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed the 33-year-old “saved us two points” when referring to a save the goalkeeper made late on.

Casilla had relatively little to do for large parts of the game at Elland Road but in second-half stoppage time, the goalie rushed out to thwart Liam Moore and keep the lead intact.

The keeper, capped once by Spain, was subject to criticism after a number of high profile mistakes this season – most recently in the 1-1 draw at Brentford.

When asked for his verdict on Casilla’s display at the weekend, Whelan told Football Insider: “As much as everyone has got to say about him, the mistakes he has made – he knows they have been schoolboy errors but he also knows he is a very good goalkeeper.

“He had nothing to do in the game but when he was needed, that one crucial moment when you need somebody to be concentrated throughout the 90 minutes and ready – there he was. It was as good as scoring the second goal. It saved us two points.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“He was alert and it is very easy not to be concentrating for 89 minutes of a game. It proved to everyone that despite the mistakes he has made some vital saves throughout the season.” 

The former Real Madrid player had appeared before an FA panel this week as the inquest into his alleged abusive comments towards Jonathan Leko continues.

Casilla has made 34 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season, keeping 14 clean sheets.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has told Football Insider latest update if “big concern” for Marcelo Bielsa.