Noel Whelan has said that Alfie McCalmont’s international debut for Northern Ireland is an “incredible” reflection of the success of Leeds United’s under-23 setup.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road star says that the 19-year-old has had a remarkable rise through the ranks over the last couple of months, making his debut for the first-team at Leeds in the League Cup before making his bow on the international stage.
McCalmont featured as a substitute in Northern Ireland’s 1-0 friendly win over Luxembourg, playing the final 30 minutes of the clash, after being given a chance to impress in senior training by Michael O’Neill.
Whelan says that he is delighted for the Leeds youngster and that it shows the club are doing the right thing when it comes to developing their under-18 and their under-23 sides.
Whelan told Football Insider: “It shows that we’re doing a really good job with the under-23s. They’re bringing through internationals which is quite incredible at that age. It looks really healthy with the development squad.
“The team progressed this year by international call-ups and players in the first-team, which is important, that is part of Leeds United.
“It looks fantastic, so pleased for Alfie, to get your debut, get into the first-team in pre-season and now getting international, it’s probably quite surreal for the young man.”
A number of other youngsters from Elland Road have been plying their trade on the international stage during the current break from Championship action, Ryan Edmondson and Jack Clarke playing for England’s under-19s and under-20s respectively.
In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can reveal that Bielsa feels one Whites star will be worth in excess of £30million in 2020.