By Noel Whelan

19th Jul, 2021 | 10:03pm

Whelan: Record-breaking development is real reason Casilla has quit Leeds

Noel Whelan has insisted Kiko Casilla needed a “fresh start” after leaving Leeds United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the recently-appointed Whites employee delivered his verdict after the goalkeeper joined Elche on loan.

Casilla will spend the season with the La Liga club.

He was reduced to a watching brief last season as Illan Meslier emerged as Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice.

The Spaniard is the fifth senior player to leave Elland Road this summer after Barry Douglas, Pablo Hernandez, Gaetano Berardi and Ezgjan Alioski.

“Look, it has been difficult for Kiko,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.

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“He came from Real Madrid and enjoyed a great first season at the club. He is very much liked by everybody at the club and you can see the relationship he has with Marcelo Bielsa and the rest of the players. I’m sure he enjoys playing with them.

“It has been difficult for him because he expects to be in the first team coming from Real Madrid. But then you look at the way Meslier progressed and performed in the absence of Casilla.

“He broke records in his first Premier League season. Meslier is the future of Leeds United and maybe France as well. He took the position and owned it and he deserves credit for that. He was incredible last season.

“Kiko has got a fresh start and I think he needed that.”

Casilla has played 62 games across all competitions for Leeds.

His current Elland Road contract expires in the summer of 2023.

In other news, Leeds United could unearth the next ‘Jamie Vardy’ after an official scouting reveal.