Whelan verdict on Forshaw slotting straight into Leeds XI after major development
Noel Whelan has admitted he is simply relieved to see Adam Forshaw back playing football at Leeds United.
However, the former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 28-year-old would not play a first-team game before the end of the season.
The midfielder stepped up his recovery from his lengthy injury layoff with a start for the under-23s on Friday night.
Forshaw lasted 84 minutes before being subbed off in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Bodymoor Heath.
The former Middlesbrough man has not featured for the senior side since September 2019 due to a hip injury.
He underwent surgery on the problem in February 2020, with Friday his first game against opposition since.
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Speaking earlier this month, Bielsa insisted Forshaw was still a “very important” part of the squad despite his absence.
Whelan admitted he had genuine fears the midfielder may never play again after such a lengthy spell out.
However, he suggested Forshaw would have to wait until next season at least to play for the first team again.
“There was a fear we’d never see him again,” Wheland told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“It’s been that long and we were kept in the dark very much about the injury and his progress. Nothing really was said about Adam Forshaw and how far off he was so it’s great to see him back out there on the football field.
“You don’t want to see a professional football player retire through injury and Adam Forshaw’s still got a lot to give. It’s nice that he’s getting the game time in the under-23s. It’s nice that he’s finding his business again and it’s nice that he’s got a ball at his feet.
“I’m sure he’ll feel a lot happier within himself now. It gives him a starting block to try and get that fitness.
“Whether we see him again this season, I very much doubt it. However, it’s a platform for him. Come back fit, raring to go and start pushing for squad places next season.”