By Noel Whelan

10th Feb, 2021 | 3:00pm

Whelan: Every Leeds player bar Raphinha 'anxious' about awful new pitch

Every Leeds United player apart from Raphinha are “anxious” when playing on the new pitch at Elland Road, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker, who attends every home match as a commentator for BBC Radio Leeds, is worried that “unnecessary injuries” will be caused by the recently laid turf.

The Yorkshire club replaced their 25-year-old pitch with new hybrid turf at the back end of January.

The new surface was bought for £300,000 from Premier League rivals Tottenham, with a full pitch replacement to be installed at the end of the season.

Two Premier League fixtures have been played on the new turf this month – a 2-1 loss to Everton and a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday night.

When asked for his assessment of the new surface at Elland Road, Whelan told Football Insider“I have never seen a pitch like this.

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“I think the problem is, it has been laid very quickly and it has not had time to knit together. It is very solid on top as well, there is no real give there.

“You can see how anxious the players are when they are trying to turn on the ball. Players are struggling to turn and there is a consciousness about the turf. It is not just a problem for Leeds, it is for both sides.

“The one player it does not bother is Raphinha, he just floats across the pitch. He does it with balance and finesse.

“We have a two-week break now before we play at home again so we can give the pitch time. Hopefully it will get better as the weeks go on.

“It is a definite worry though because we do not need unnecessary injuries caused by the pitch. We have enough injury problems as it is. It looked like kindergarten on the bench on Monday.”

In other news, an ‘exceptional’ Leeds United teenager has been tipped to make his debut after a big development.