Bamba did not start the Championship game against Bolton at Elland Road, but he came on as a substitute at the start of the second half.
The Ivory Coast international central defender gave a good account of himself, as Leeds won 2-1.
Former Leeds striker Whelan was following the match, and he was impressed with the shift put in by the 31-year-old centre-back.
“Sometimes you see how people react when they've made a mistake, and Sol Bamba proved that today,” Whelan told BBC Sport (17:19). “We got a great reaction from him and he's the club captain for a reason.
"He was strong, powerful, winning headers and showing great pace. It was all his good things and attributes that we love seeing.”
During his time on the pitch, Bamba took one shot, had a pass accuracy of 90%, won 67% of his tackles and 67% of his headers, and made three interceptions, 12 clearances and one block.
The former Hibernian and Leicester City defender has not played well in recent weeks, but he led by example from the back against Bolton on Saturday.
Leeds are 16th in the Championship table at the moment with 41 points from 34 matches, nine points above the relegation zone.