By Noel Whelan

10th Oct, 2021 | 7:45am

Pundit delivers 'best in the world' Raphinha verdict after 'great sign for Leeds fans'

Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United winger Raphinha didn’t “look out of place” during his Brazil debut despite playing with the “world’s best”.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, praised the 24-year-old’s “brilliant” debut as a “great sign” for the Yorkshire club.

Raphinha registered two assists during his Brazil bow as the Selecao came from behind to beat Venezuela 3-1 in Caracas.

The winger had been struggling with a knock in recent Premier League fixtures, but looked to be back to 100% fitness as he turned Thursday’s World Cup qualifier on its head.

Raphinha was forced to turn down his initial Brazil call-up after top-flight clubs prevented players from travelling to red-list countries in September.

The winger could miss out on Leeds United’s next Premier League fixture against Southampton with just 36 hours between that game and the Selecao’s match against Uruguay next Friday.

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Whelan claimed Raphinha will have delighted Whites and Brazil fans alike with his “immediate impact” in the famous yellow shirt.

“The pinnacle of any player’s career is getting an international cap and representing their country,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.

“Going away with the best players in the world and representing Brazil – he doesn’t look out of place, does he?

“It’s a great sign for Leeds United fans, the club, and Brazil that they have this young star who has been able to step in and have such an immediate impact in the national side.

“It’s brilliant, and hopefully it continues.

“It’s all about putting in the performances for him while he’s away, but steering clear of injury.”

The midfielder earned a first call-up following his stellar form in the Premier League this season.

He has scored three in seven league appearances.

In other news, Leeds confident of star signing ‘big money’ contract.