BBC pundit Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Leeds United striker Mallik Wilks and suggested that he will be challenging for a place in the first-team when he returns from injury.

The 20-year-old has had a good season with Doncaster Rovers in the League One and gone on to score 14 goals and record seven assists from 45 league games.

The decision of the Leeds hierarchy to send Wilks on loan ahead of this season has proven to be a good one. He was definitely not ready to be integrated into the first-team ahead of this season.

Now, he is at a stage where they can consider integrating him into the first-team plans ahead of next term. The 20-year-old is a youth product of the Whites developmental system and has previously also had loan spells with the likes of Acrrington and Grimsby Town.

It would make perfect sense for the Yorkshire giants to try and offer Wilks an opportunity to stake his claim for a place in the Leeds first-team during the summer transfer window.

They should ideally aim to get him involved in the pre-season matches so that the club can see what he is capable of doing. If Wilks ends up having a positive impression on the Leeds hierarchy, he could save the club millions in the long-run.

He is also a player that will probably be wanting to remain with the club regardless of the division that they are playing in next season.

Talking to Football Insider Whelan said, “He has done himself lots of favours.

“Wilks will be quietly confident that when he comes back during pre-season he will be given an opportunity to push for the first-team squad.

“We don’t have any strikers, just Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe. Apart from that, the cupboard is bare. Tyler Roberts isn’t really a centre-forward and we need to find his best position.

“Leeds are crying out for a regular goalscorer, this season has showed that. Can Wilks be that player? I don’t know, but he’s been brilliant at Doncaster and I expect him to challenge in pre-season.”

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