By Noel Whelan

6th Oct, 2020 | 5:00pm

Exclusive: Whelan tips rarely-seen Leeds player for big things after physical transformation

Noel Whelan believes Leeds United winger Ian Poveda could play an “integral role” this season after his physical transformation.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan believes the 20-year-old has been working in the gym and is beginning to blossom under Marcelo Bielsa.

Poveda made his Premier League debut on Saturday when he came on as a half-time substitute against his former side Manchester City.

Bielsa was full of praise for the winger after the game and admitted his surprise at his development.

Asked by Football Insider what he made of Poveda’s display: “It seems like everybody is coming good at the right time.

“We’re looking at somebody who is very young.

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“I thought he was a little bit lightweight when he first came to the club and thought he needed to strengthen himself up, build himself up a little bit more in the gym.

“You could see when he came on the other day that he had a point to prove to Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.

“He looked strong, he looked aggressive straight away when he came into the game.

“He was very much involved. There was a great nutmeg on the right-hand side. He was very direct, showed his pace, skill and tight control that he has.

“He looks like someone who is really maturing very quickly under Marcelo Bielsa and going to be a very integral part of the squad this season.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more of him because if he can make that kind of impact every game, coming off the bench, he’s going to cause a lot of defenders problems with his ability and his pace.”

In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can REVEAL a major update on Barry Douglas potentially quitting the club.