By Harry Sykes

Noel Whelan has claimed Alex Mowatt must “contribute” on a consistent basis to earn a new Leeds contract.

The Leeds playmaker’s future has come under the microscope following his man-of-the-match display in Monday’s FA Cup win against Cambridge.

Mowatt inspired Leeds’ comeback after they had gone a goal down, creating the opener for Stuart Dallas and then scoring the winner in the 2-1 triumph with a deft header.

It was the highlight of what has been a disappointing campaign for the 21-year-old attacking midfielder, who has been shunted out to the sidelines by the likes of Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez and fellow Elland Road academy graduates Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira.

Mowatt is out of contract at the end of the season and some observers have urged him to move to a new club in the January window.

Others have said he should fight for his place and show why he deserves a new contract from the high flying Championship side.

Ex-Leeds striker Whelan was impressed by Mowatt’s display in the playmaker role against League Two side Cambridge but said it is the kind of performance he needs to consistently produce.

“Mowatt made some clever runs in difficult conditions and got a great shot off to test the keeper – he had a lot more pace and energy about him, and his ball for the equaliser was lovely,” said Whelan, as quoted by the BBC Leeds website on Monday night (10pm).

“He’s shown Monk that he’s still here and still fighting. Does he need to consider a move? Well, this evening will have shown the manager that he can be the next man in the number ten role if Roofe goes out wide when Doukara isn’t up to scratch. He’s at a fantastic club but has to contribute.”

Mowatt has started just four league matches this season and was not named in the 18-man squad for the most recent league encounter, when Leeds beat Rotherham 3-0.

But he will hope that his display against Cambridge is enough to nudge manager Garry Monk into recalling him to the team for Friday night’s Championship clash against Derby.

Football Insider verdict:

One swallow does not make a summer, and Mowatt must provide more evidence of the pedigree that earned him the club’s player of the year award two seasons ago. He has struggled in his rare run-outs in the Championship this season, with his lack of pace a real issue in the helter-skelter second tier battleground. But there is no doubt about the quality of his left foot or his ability to create and finish when he is given space. Mowatt must use Monday’s encouraging display as a springboard to win a new deal.

In other Leeds news, the club are in advanced talks to sign a Bundesliga assists machine.

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