By Noel Whelan

27th Nov, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Whelan in 'no doubt' Leeds 18-yr-old in line for imminent first-XI promotion

Noel Whelan has tipped young defender Charlie Cresswell to be soon promoted into the Leeds United starting XI.

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted the 18-year-old is “definitely” someone who could make the step up from under-23s to first-team football.

The hot prospect has made just one senior appearance for the Whites so far as he played the full 90 minutes against Hull City in the League Cup.

Marcelo Bielsa has had to battle with a number of defensive issues already this term, with the likes of Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente having already missed lots of games through injury.

Whelan believes Cresswell is one of the young talents who are on the brink of getting their chance to shine in the first-team and suggested the intense fixture schedule could see him promoted sooner rather than later.

Asked if he thought Cresswell had an opportunity of breaking into the senior side, Whelan told Football Insider“Yeah, absolutely. Look, we can’t turn our nose up at good players, no matter how young they are – if they’re good enough, they’re old enough it’s as simple as that, that’s the saying, the way it goes.

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“Look, we’ve seen how much the programme and schedule has taken its toll on players because they’re all internationals as well, pretty much at the back, bar Ayling, so there are going to be opportunities there, absolutely no doubt.

“We’re not even into halfway of the season and we’ve seen Cooper injured, we’ve seen Llorente injured, there’s going to be suspensions, there’s going to be other injuries, but he’s definitely one that can step into that fold.

“We’ve seen how the young lads at Liverpool have done it, they might have to do it again, so Jurgen Klopp’s not afraid to do it so I don’t see why Marcelo Bielsa should be.” 

In other Leeds United news, treble-winning manager left in awe of Elland Road ace.