By Noel Whelan

30th Dec, 2019 | 7:00am

Exclusive: Whelan reveals 'Problem' he has with Leeds player he compares to PL legend

Noel Whelan has compared Leeds United striker Eddie Nketiah to Arsenal and Premier League legend Thierry Henry due to his movement up front.

The former Leeds hitman and lifelong fan of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the 20-year-old has a tendency to drift out wide rather than playing through the middle as a centre-forward.

The youngster was handed his first Championship start on Sunday in place of the injured Patrick Bamford, playing just over 80 minutes in a dramatic 5-4 win for the Whites.

Whelan says that Nketiah’s movement is reminiscent of Gunners icon Henry and suggests that he may need a strike partner to stay central if he continues to play as he is.

Whelan told Football Insider: “My problem with Eddie is that he spends so much time out wide and he likes to take that Thierry Henry role – coming in off the left, coming in off the right.

“That’s great, but I want my centre forward in the middle to score goals. He’s one of these players that will score you goals when he’s in the box. If you’re going to play that sort of way, you’re going to have to leave Patrick Bamford on the field as well.

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“That’s where he got the goal against Fulham – it’s a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box, inside from an angle, a good save but a tap in from Patrick. 

“If that’s how he wants to play the game, and not an out-and-out centre-forward role, then you’ve got to play him in that position, you’ve got to play him as the wide man, or play him as the number 10 and let him roam. 

“You’ve got to have a focal point which is Patrick.” 

Bamford and Nketiah have only played together three times this season, the duo racking up just 80 minutes of action alongside each other.

In other Leeds United news, Whelan suggests that an “unlucky” player has forced his way back into the starting XI.