By Noel Whelan

6th Aug, 2022 | 3:50pm

Leeds United employee thrilled by Junior Firpo boost

Noel Whelan has welcomed news from Leeds United regarding Junior Firpo’s return to action.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, backed the 25-year-old to mirror the attacking positions taken up by new signing Rasmus Kristensen in Jesse Marsch’s new-look system.

As quoted by Leeds Live (4 August) prior to Saturday’s (6 August) match against Wolves, Marsch revealed that Firpo’s recovery is “ahead of schedule” following a scan.

The American revealed the Whites can now be more “aggressive” as he ramps up his fitness – and claimed the defender could return to match squads in “two or three weeks”.

Firpo was originally ruled out for eight weeks in mid-July with a knee injury.

Pascal Struijk, Jack Harrison, and Leo Hjelde have all been sounded out as potential stand-ins for the left-back as Leeds United start the 2022-23 campaign.

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Whelan insisted the former Barcelona man needs a “big season” after the Whites’ relegation scare last term.

He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think the quicker he can get back, the better.

“The way we’re setting up this season, it demands a natural full-back. We can see that on the other side with Kristensen and how high he is getting.

“Firpo is that organic, natural option. He’s had one season in the Premier League now, and we need him to have a big season this time around.”

Firpo made 23 league appearances for Leeds United last term – 19 of which came from the start.

The Spaniard also struggled with injury in 2021-22, missing games through muscle strains and a sideband problem.

In other news, expert backs “top talent” to gatecrash Leeds United first team after “elite” reveal.