'This kid is a natural' - Exclusive: Whelan in awe of player 'proved right' to quit Leeds
Noel Whelan claimed he “would have loved” Eddie Nketiah still to be at Leeds United but admitted he had been “proved right” to quit mid-season and return to Arsenal.
The former Elland Road forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, believes the 20-year-old is “a natural finisher” unlike Patrick Bamford.
Nketiah spent the first half of the 2019/20 campaign on loan with Marcelo Bielsa’s side but returned to north-London to fight for a place under new manager Mikel Arteta.
The decision appears justified as the forward capped his second consecutive start with a goal as Arsenal beat Everton 3-2 at the Emirates.
When asked if the England under-21 international was right to leave Elland Road, Whelan told Football Insider: “He has just proved he was right in going back.
“When a new manager comes in it give you a different perspective of a chance at a football club. I like the fact Arteta is giving Eddie a chance. He will improve playing next to Aubameyang, Pepe and Ozil.
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“This kid is a natural goalscorer and we have now seen on Sunday he can do the horrible side as well.
“We would have loved to have kept him but when he has an opportunity at his proper club in the Premier League I cannot fault him for going to do that. He backed himself and he is right – he has the ability.
“It was an excellent finish. He is a natural finisher. That is something you cannot put into Patrick Bamford.”
Nketiah scored 5 goals in 19 appearances for the Whites before returning to his parent club in January.
Bielsa signed Jean-Kevin Augustin to replace the youngster but so far the loanee from Red Bull Leipzig has been restricted to substitute appearances builds up his match fitness.
In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has told Football Insider Reading performance was a reminder of how good 33-year-old can be.