'There's no doubt' - Exclusive: Whelan claims 'Brilliant' 27-yr-old to replace Leeds loanee
Noel Whelan is convinced Marcelo Bielsa will replace Jack Clarke next month from within his Leeds United squad.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker pointed out that Ezgjan Alioski will be regarded by the manager as the ideal winger alternative to the Tottenham loanee.
Whelan is in “no doubt” that Clarke, 19, will return to his parent club before going out on loan for the second half of the season to a new Championship side.
But he does not expect Leeds to dip into the January market to replace the youngster, who has barely featured since being signed by the Premier League giants and then loaned back.
“There’s no doubt Jack Clarke will leave as Tottenham won’t allow him to stay on the bench all season,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Leeds have plenty of wide men in the squad so I don’t expect they will sign someone to replace him.
“You’ve got Jack Harrison, Helder Costa, Pablo Hernandez…Jamie Shackleton and Stuart Dallas can play there as well and Alioski is a brilliant weapon as well.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“I can see him filling in as a winger, and replacing Clarke, if the first choices like Harrison and Costa are out, or come off. He’s played there most of his career, can create and score goals and is one of the best finishers in the squad.
“It’s been tough on him to lose his regular place at left-back, but that’s only because Stuart Dallas has been outstanding.
“He’s been coming on and scoring as a substitute, which shows that Bielsa’s selections are working. Everyone seems to be happy with their role and playing well.”
Alioski has made 12 league starts among 19 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and supplying one assist.
The 27-year-old has been used predominantly as an advanced left-back by Bielsa this season, but has come off the bench to be used in more attacking positions over the last month.
In other Leeds United news, ex-United star has tipped the Whites to sign ‘Fabulous’ Man City player next month.