Leeds United starlet Ryan Edmondson offers something “unique” to the team and could make a major impact next season, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker claimed the centre-forward, who turned 18 at the end of last month, can be “the next big thing” at the Championship giants.

United academy products Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton established themselves as first-team regulars last season after being fast-tracked by Marcelo Bielsa.

Whelan believes Edmondson has the potential to follow in the footsteps of his fellow homegrown teenagers.

“Edmondson could be the next big thing,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He offers a different dimension to what we’ve got in Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford, and I’m surprised he didn’t get on the bench more regularly last season.

“He should be pushing to make the matchday 18 next season and even pushing for a start. I’ve seen him play a fair bit for the Under-23s. He’s a big, physical striker and doesn’t mind being up, close and personal with defenders and knocking a few around. That’s quite rare these days when they all want the ball to feet.

“He can play as well, he’s good on the ball, has a bit of pace, good feet and a real eye for goal. I very much like what I have seen from him. He could be a real asset next season.”

York-born Edmondson has made two substitute appearances for the Leeds senior side, one in September of last year and one in the final match of the 2017-18 season when Paul Heckingbottom was manager.

He spent the majority of last season in the Under-23s and his prolific scoring and forward play was key to them lifting the Professional Development League title.

In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills has claimed the Whites have a “great chance” of signing Premier League player who “wants to play for Bielsa”.