Noel Whelan has called upon Marcelo Bielsa to make Leeds starlet Mallik Wilks a first-team feature next season after impressing out on-loan in the past year.
The 20-year-old spent the previous campaign on loan at fellow Yorkshire club Doncaster Rovers and played a massive part in them reaching the League One play-offs.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “I’m a big believer that if you send a player out on loan it’s because the manager doesn’t think he’s right for the football club but Wilks, he is an exception because he is a goalscorer.”
“He can play down the middle and on both flanks, and that’s what Bielsa likes. He could be a really good player for Leeds United, Bielsa can make him a star.”
Wilks has previously only made one senior appearance for Leeds and has gained great experience during two separate loan spells.
Last season was a real breakthrough for the striker, who scored 16 and assisted 12 goals in his 55 appearances for Doncaster. Wilks played most of these fixtures from the left-wing, proving his versatility ahead of a vital pre-season in his career.
There is no doubting Mallik Wilks’ natural ability as a forward. His senior debut for Leeds probably came too early in his career as he went missing in an embarrassing defeat to the non-league side Sutton United. What has impressed the most about Wilks is that he didn’t sulk after not performing to the best of his abilities that day, he used it as motivation. Before this season many involved at Leeds will not have given much thought to the 20-year-old, but they will certainly recognise him after a tremendous season in front of goal. Being involved in 28 goals is a great return for Wilks, who proved his versatility in playing most of his games on the left-hand side. Wilks’ pace and strength on the ball when running at the defenders is always something managers will look out for, and after Marcelo Bielsa gave so much game time to the club’s young stars last season, Wilks could certainly be a name to look out for in the next Championship campaign.