Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa should hand youngster Alfie McCalmont some further playing time when the Championship season returns, according to Noel Whelan, who spoke to Football Insider.
Progressing through the various youth ranks at Elland Road, young midfielder McCalmont has gradually been handed a couple of first team opportunities.
Featuring twice this season for Leeds with both of those games coming in the EFL Cup, playing against Salford City and Stoke City, the Thirsk-born talent has also been a consistent performer for the Yorkshire club’s U23 side.
Playing regularly for Carlos Corberan’s youthful side, McCalmont has been impressing Bielsa but with Leeds’ priority this term being a return to the Premier League, playing time in the Championship has been non-existent.
Whelan, who speaks regularly to Football Insider, has now pushed Bielsa to hand the 20-year-old some more playing time when the 2019/2020 season returns on June 20.
“McCalmont I have seen a few times now and he is very capable,” he said. “He was tipped to replace Kalvin or be that second string to Kalvin throughout the season.
“A very good player, great on the ball and a good football mind.
“He is one that is learning his trade from watching Kalvin and being in and around that first-team setup.
“It is important that these young lads are integrated. It is vital for their progression and to give them confidence to step in when needed because there will be injuries and suspensions.
“Use them – that is why you have an academy and youth policy.”
Leeds sit top of the Championship as things stand with an automatic promotion to the Premier League very much looking likely.
The Yorkshire club have bounced back well following the disappointment of losing the play-off semi-final to Derby County last season.
With top-flight football on Bielsa’s mind at the moment, handing McCalmont some minutes may come after that has been secured, but then again, the Argentine has done stranger things.
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