Leeds United teenager Charlie Cresswell could save the club millions this season, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites and Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said the 18-year-old is “a smashing young player” that could be promoted to the first team to help solve their defensive crisis.

Marcelo Bielsa confirmed last week that Diego Llorente would join Robin Koch and Gaetano Berardi on the sidelines after he suffered a muscular injury in the loss against Chelsea.

Right-back Luke Ayling partnered Liam Cooper in the heart of the defence on Friday night as Leeds were beaten 2-1 by West Ham at Elland Road.

Cresswell is yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Yorkshire club but did start the EFL Cup defeat at Hull City in September.

When asked by Football Insider if he expected Leeds to look at signing a centre-half on loan in January in light of the current injury crisis, Whelan said:

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“I highly doubt Leeds will enter the January market to sign a centre-half.

“I think we have enough centre-halves. Llorente is going to be fit in three weeks and let’s not forget about Cresswell and Casey. Berardi and Koch are still to return from injury so I do not think the club will waste money on another centre-back.

“I think Cresswell is a smashing young player. He has got the talent and the stature. He has been doing really well with England’s Under-19s as well.

“I think the club will look to strengthen in other areas instead.”        

In other news, Bielsa tipped to lure international star to Leeds United on loan in January.