Noel Whelan has insisted that Leeds United have signed Ian Poveda “for the future rather than right now”. 

The former Elland Road striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed it can “sometimes be a good thing” to throw a young player straight into the first team but it can also “shatter their confidence”.

The 20-year-old is still waiting for his first start for the first team but has been among the match-day squad on numerous occasions since his arrival from Manchester City in January.

However, Poveda was not among the substitutes for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bristol City at Elland Road.

Whelan insists that United fans should not read into that too much given the strength of the bench at the weekend.

“I think he is a player that has been brought in as a long-term prospect because he is still young,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“When you looked at the bench the other day it was the strongest we could make. You have to cover your bases and Bielsa likes players that can adapt and play one or two positions.

“Maybe he is one that is for the future rather than right now.

“You have to be careful with kids. To throw them in at the deep end can sometimes be a good thing but it could also shatter their confidence.

“There might be an opportunity at some-point between now and the end of the season and I am sure he will be ready and it will be a boost to get some first-team football.

“I think Marcelo did the right thing but there might be a time where he has to use him.”

Leeds United fans welcome manager Marcelo Bielsa

The winger was one of three January signings for Bielsa with Eli Caprile and striker Jean-Kevin Augustin also joined the Yorkshire club.

The promotion hopefuls next game is at home to Reading and fans will hope more daylight can be put between themselves and third-placed Fulham.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that Spurs have their eye on fans’ favourite if promotion bid fails.