Noel Whelan has claimed “brilliant” Mallik Wilks will challenge for a Leeds United first-team spot next season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker explained how his attention has been caught by Wilks’ exploits on a season-long loan at Doncaster Rovers.

The 20-year-old has scored 16 goals in 51 matches for the League One club, including 14 in league fixtures, and has also weighed in with eight assists.

Operating predominantly on the right and left flanks rather than as a central spearhead, Wilks has been a consistent scorer and creator for the division’s sixth-placed outfit.

“He has done himself lots of favours,” Whelan said. “Wilks will be quietly confident that when he comes back during pre-season he will be given an opportunity to push for the first-team squad.

“We don’t have any strikers, just Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe. Apart from that, the cupboard is bare. Tyler Roberts isn’t really a centre-forward and we need to find his best position.

“Leeds are crying out for a regular goalscorer, this season has showed that. Can Wilks be that player? I don’t know, but he’s been brilliant at Doncaster and I expect him to challenge in pre-season.”

Wilks signed a new contract with Leeds in January that ties him to his parent club until the summer of 2022.

He has made just one senior appearance for his hometown club, which came when Garry Monk was manager.

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