Leeds United

Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Joe Gelhardt after the Leeds United striker received his first call up to a senior matchday squad.

The former Whites forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, is over the moon for the 18-year-old who was has been in “exceptional” form for the Under-23s this season.

Gelhardt was named on the bench for the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday night and it was the first time he has made a matchday squad for Leeds.

The £1million summer signing from Wigan Athletic has excelled for the club’s Under-23 side this season, with his 11 appearances in Premier League 2 yielding seven goals.

Whelan gave the England Under-18 international a glowing reference and claimed he is the “future of Leeds United”.

“I think his debut is round the corner, I really do,” he told Football Insider.

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“This is the reward for young players when they are playing exceptionally in the Under-23s.

“It shows the progression in his career. Yes, he has played first team football at Wigan but he is now at a Premier League club with much more competition.

“He has had to bide his time. He has done everything required of him in the Under-23s. It was another great performance and goal at the weekend and he has got his just reward.

“He is the future of Leeds United. We have spent money on the Under-23s and the guidance from the youth managers is paying dividends. The future looks really bright.”

In other news, Patrick Bamford is set for talks over a blockbuster new Leeds United deal.