Noel Whelan has been left greatly encouraged by the future of Leeds United as they secured the signing of young goalkeeper Dani van den Heuvel.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds forward delivered his verdict as his former side added another youngster to their ranks.

Van den Heuvel became the latest addition to Leeds’ u23 side with the 17-year-old joining on a three-year deal from Ajax last week.

The goalkeeper joins Linfield forward Charlie Allen and Fulham fullback Cody Drameh as recent additions to the club’s academy.

Leeds’ academy was awarded category one status in July which means the club’s u23 side will enter the EFL Trophy.

This week they were drawn into Northern group G alonngside with Accrington Stanley, Barrow and Blackpool.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I think that’s the advantage of having the category one academy and having the u23 side.

“We’re in the EFL Trophy too which is where the majority of these young players are going to get their experience now.

“Instead of playing just the u23 league games you’re going to get experience against men and proper first teams and they’ll learn a lot there.

“We have to strengthen that side to be competitive in that cup competition and that’s the only way we can see the young players develop.

“We’ve seen many many clubs, like Liverpool do that and you’ve seen how good their young players are going into the first team.

“They’ve been given the chance after performances in the EFL cup. 

“I think it’s fantastic, we’re planning for the future which is great. It’s good to know we’ve got some good young players there into the academy and we’re trying to make that future bright.”

In other Leeds news, a top pundit has made a huge Ben White transfer claim.