Noel Whelan is over the moon for Max Dean after he signed his first professional contract at Leeds United.

The former Whites and Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, heaped praise on the “exciting” 17-year-old for his “great achievement”.

The club announced on Friday that the teenage striker had put pen to paper on his first professional contract, which will run until the summer of 2023.

Dean has impressed for Leeds’ youth sides this season, with his 10 appearances for the Under-23s yielding six goals and one assist.

Whelan pointed to the “ruthless” nature of academies when praising the centre-forward’s accomplishment.

“It is brilliant news,” he told Football Insider.

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“For Dean personally, it is a massive deal to sign his first professional contract.

“It is a great achievement because he has been fighting among other players in and around him and only a few get taken on. It can be very ruthless in academies.

“It is a great moment for the young man and a good moment for Leeds because he looks to be another exciting youngster coming through the ranks.” 

Speaking shortly after penning his professional contract, Dean told LUTV: “I’m made up. I’ve been working all season towards this and it is great to finally get what I have been working for.

“I think coming back for pre-season, I came back as fit as I could be. I’ve worked hard, learnt how to play the system and I feel like I’ve adapted well to it.”

In other news, Leeds United are in the hunt to sign Ocampos for less than his £62million release clause.