Noel Whelan has revealed he has heard “good things” about the fitness of Leeds United striker Jean-Kevin Augustin ahead of the Championship’s prospective return.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Elland Road hitman admits he “feels sorry” for the French forward after joining a Whites side who were flying in the league.
As revealed by Football Insider last week, the coaches at Elland Road are expecting the 22-year-old to make a big impact after making significant strides over his fitness during lockdown.
Augustin, who joined on loan from RB Leipzig in January, managed to feature three times as a substitute before suffering an injury which ruled him out until the season was suspended.
With Leeds set to ramp up their training efforts ahead of a potential return to action next month, Whelan believes the only thing the striker is lacking is match fitness.
Whelan told Football Insider: “I’ve heard good things about Augustin, that he’s fit, he’s in a good place, he looks happy, he looks ready and eager to go.
“That will be interesting, we know there’s a big price on his head if we want him so he’s got something to show if the season does conclude and he does go out and play.
“No one’s seen the best of him, no one’s seen anything of him really. We’ve seen him come on and try to force a performance because he’s got such a short window of opportunity to do that. He came in without any football under his belt and not in great shape.
“I feel sorry for him because it’s very difficult to come to a team that’s flying and playing with an intensity to the game that Leeds United play at when you’ve not played many games.
“Now he’s had an opportunity to shred a little bit of weight, get himself onto a fighting weight where he feels comfortable and ready to play at – obviously there’s still going to be that match fitness that’s lacking, that’s where you generate most of your confidence.”
In other Leeds United news, Whelan claims the Whites need to sign a “leader” from a Premier League side this summer.