Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Leeds United Under-23 boss Mark Jackson for his development of the club’s youngsters.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 43-year-old’s squad is “improving week by week” and tipped many of the youth players to break into the first team as a consequence.

A 2-0 win over Norwich City helped Leeds’ Under-23s to their ninth consecutive win in Premier League 2 Division 2 – they are now 10 points clear at the top of the table.

Their last defeat came way back in November – a 4-3 loss at Newcastle United.

Summer signings Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood, Crysencio Summerville and Cody Drameh have all had instant impacts at Thorp Arch.

Whelan believes the academy’s move to Category One status is paying dividends and hailed the impact of the Under-23s boss appointed last September to succeed Carlos Corberan.

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“Mark Jackson has done an amazing job,” he told Football Insider.

“He has taken them onto another level. They are improving week by week.

“They are a cohesive unit, with a real good team spirit and a winning mentality. It is proving dividends this season along with the great coaching they are getting.

“This is great for the club. This is why we spent money on getting young players in and moved up to a Category One. We did it so we could test ourselves and so that we could attract better players.

“These players are the future of Leeds, a lot of them will be in the first team in the next five years. We have got it right and the results are proving that.” 

In other news, a top pundit claims Leeds United midfielder Stuart Dallas is ‘better than Ward-Prowse’ and totally unique in the Premier League.