By Noel Whelan

20th Nov, 2020 | 11:09am

'Massive' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to Leeds news he's heard pre-Arsenal

Kalvin Phillips will be straight back into the Leeds United starting XI against Arsenal if he has recovered from his shoulder injury, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has bemoaned the absence of the 24-year-old during the Whites’ recent games.

As revealed by Football Insider earlier this week, Phillips is a doubt to start this weekend’s game despite returning to light training last week with a view to a comeback on Sunday.

The defensive midfielder has missed Leeds’ last three games – which include 4-1 defeats to Leicester City and Crystal Palace – due to the shoulder problem picked up against Wolves.

Whelan has insisted that the homegrown star has been sorely missed and tipped him to make an immediate return to the starting line-up.

Whelan told Football Insider: “I heard Kalvin has been back in some kind of light training so that that is a big boost. I mean it depends how bad the shoulder injury is.

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“I’ve dislocated my shoulder before and I tried to come back a little bit too soon and I think those sort of injuries, because you’re so mobile in that area, you’ve got to be up against people as well, you’ve got to be cautious, absolutely.

“At the same time, we need him back. I think we’ve seen actually how much we’ve missed him defensively in that position and nobody can play it like he can. We’ve seen people get lost in that position.

“Klich tried it and it was okay for a short amount of time, then we’ve seen Struijk try it away at Crystal Palace, didn’t work, you know, he looked a little bit out of sorts, a little bit lost in that position.

“Somebody with that natural ability, like Kalvin, against a team like Arsenal with the flair players that they have and that front three they have. He’s going to be massively important – if he’s fit, he goes straight in.”

In other news, Leeds United are on red alert after a fresh twist in Ryan Kent’s contract negotiations with Rangers.