Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Noel Whelan insists it is “huge” that Kalvin Phillips is ahead of schedule in terms of his injury recovery at Leeds United.

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits that it is vitally important players are fit and firing during of pre-season.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the 24-year-old revealed he is “probably a couple of weeks ahead of schedule” in terms of recovering from his knee injury.

The midfielder was sidelined for the club’s final games of the season and watched on from the stands as his teammates secured both promotion and the Championship title.

It was confirmed by the club back in July that Phillips was facing around five weeks out of action.

Whelan admits he is delighted to hear the senior mainstay could be back sooner than expected and insists this year’s pre-season is vital after the disruption over the last few months.

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Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s huge – I think for Kalvin it’s important that he gets back as quickly as possible and he’s on time to join in the pre-season with the rest of the players.

“Pre-season is such an important time for everybody that you don’t even want to be even a week behind. I think it’s great news because they’re not going to get that much time off.

“Before you know it they’re going to be straight back into pre-season and he’s a key player, we need him and we need a very fit Kalvin Phillips to start the season.” 

Phillips played 37 times in the Championship last season, with two goals and two assists to his name.

Ben White filled in as a defensive midfielder in his absence but the centre-back has returned to Brighton after his loan spell.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED the Whites want to blow West Brom away for their sixth potential signing.